0

How Do Fireworks Get Their Glorious Colors?

Via Livescience!

Behind the scenes of the dazzling light shows that make spectators “Ooh!” and “Ahh!” on the Fourth of July, are carefully crafted fireworks. Whether red, white and blue fountains or bursts of purple sparks, each firework is packed with just the right mix of chemicals to create these colorful lights.

Inside each firework is something called an aerial shell — a tube that contains gunpowder and dozens of small modules called “stars,” which measure about 1 to 1.5 inches (3 to 4 centimeters) in diameter, according to the American Chemical Society (ACA). These stars hold fuel, an oxidizing agent, a binder and metal salts or metal oxides — the source of the firework’s hues. A time-delay fuse ignites the gunpowder and bursts the aerial shell once the firework is midair, causing the stars to scatter and explode far above the ground, producing a shower of light and color.

Once exposed to fire, the stars’ fuel and oxidizing agents generate intense heat very rapidly, activating the metal-containing colorants. When heated, atoms in the metal compounds absorb energy, causing their electrons to rearrange from their lowest energy state to a higher “excited” state. As the electrons plummet back down to their lower energy state, the excess energy gets emitted as light. [5 Dazzling Facts About Fireworks]

Each chemical element releases a different amount of energy, and this energy is what determines the color or wavelength of the light that is emitted.

For instance, when sodium nitrate is heated, electrons in the sodium atoms absorb the energy and get excited. As the electrons come down from the high, they release their energy, about 200 kilojoules per mole (a unit of measurement for chemical substances) or the energy of yellow light, according to the website of the University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri.

The recipe that creates blue includes varying amounts of copper chloride compounds. Red comes from strontium salts and lithium salts, and the brightest red is emitted by strontium carbonate, the ACA explained on their website.

Just like paints, secondary colors are made by combining the ingredients of their primary-color relatives. A mixture of blue-producing copper compounds and red-producing strontium compounds results in purple light, the ACA reported.

See more!


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 14,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython 2019!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/


Maker Business — A list of companies owned by Amazon. It’s big.

Wearables — Raid the kitchen

Electronics — Capacitor ESR

Biohacking — Vitamin-C + Gelatin for Accelerated Recovery

Python for Microcontrollers — Python snakes its way to the STM32, Serpente, and more!

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Adafruit IO Updates, RGB Stream Deck Message Panel, and more

Microsoft MakeCode — Welcome to the MakeCode Newsletter!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.