The Science behind firework Display: Colors and Effect

The Science behind Firework Displays: Colors and Effects

Fireworks! Pyrotechnic Displays! Yes, we all just love them because of their good visual effects. Firework displays have become major attractions at a number of celebrations, such as New Year, Christmas, wedding, Diwali festival and much more. During these celebrations or festivals, the night sky is covered by a myriad of explosions in red, blue, green, and a whole lot of other colors. But, have you ever wondered how do fireworks get those beautiful colors, brilliant sky formations and sparkling effects? In order to enjoy the display even more, you need to understand the science behind the art of colors and effects produced by fireworks.

The magic of colors!

What makes fireworks to display different colors? Well, that's chemistry too! The colors are produced by heating metals and salts at the right temperatures. Different firework manufacturers have their own recipe for creating color. However, the metallic elements that are used along with oxidizers to create fireworks are relatively standard. Different metal compounds produce different colors when burnt. Here’s a list of metals and colors produced by them:

  • Barium produces green color
  • Sodium produces yellow color
  • Copper produce blue color
  • Strontium produces red color
  • Aluminum, titanium and magnesium produce white color.

Explosive effects!

So, till now you got to know about the magical colors produced by metals present in fireworks, but what about the effects? The type and size of metal particles can determine the look of a firework.

  • Long-lasting effect: Long-lasting fireworks use charcoal because it burns at a slower rate. Larger flakes of aluminum can also be used for a long-lasting effect.
  • Salute or report effect: In this effect, fireworks burst quickly accompanied by a loud sound. In order to produce salute effect, metals such as aluminum is grounded to a fine powder so that it burns itself out quickly. Sometimes, titanium is added to fireworks to create a sparkling effect.
  • Aerial effect: An aerial firework is composed of a shell that contains four different parts. Firstly, a physical shell, which is composed of pasted paper and string. Secondly, stars, which are spheres, cubes and cylinders that contain all the ingredients. Thirdly, bursting charge which helps in bursting the firework. Finally, a firework fuse, which is used to provide time delay to firework, so that it explodes at the right time.

Next time, when you will buy fireworks and watch the magnificent display during night time, keep track of the colors you see. The variety of colors and effects produced will always surprise you!

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