Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How fireworks produce color

Date:
June 27, 2012
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
How do fireworks make the colors that keep eyes glued to the sky? What's inside includes a fuse and fuel to make the firework explode. Also inside are one or more capsules or packets containing metals ground into tiny particles. When the firework explodes, the metal particles start oxidizing, which creates heat.

It's time to light up the nighttime skies with plenty of red, white and blue -- and yellow, orange and green, too.

Related Articles


Producing the colorful bursts that keep eyes glued to the skies on the Fourth of July has everything to do with chemical engineering, according to Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry at Kansas State University.

"The art of fireworks is the packaging," Bossmann said. "What the firework does depends on what's inside."

What's inside includes a fuse and fuel to make the firework explode. This fuel is typically a powder of charcoal, sulfur and potassium nitrate -- similar to gunpowder, Bossmann said. Also inside are one or more capsules or packets containing metals ground into tiny particles. When the firework explodes, the metal particles start oxidizing, which creates heat.

"The heat is needed to excite the metal particles so they can emit light," Bossmann said.

We see the lights the metals emit as colors.

"Different metals produce different colors," Bossmann said. "For example, think of liquid steel. When it gets hot it turns yellow."

Metals used in fireworks today include aluminum, titanium, beryllium, barium, copper, potassium and more. Here's a look at the metals used to produce a specific color:

* Red --Strontium and lithium

* Orange --Calcium

* Yellow -- Sodium

* Green -- Barium

* Blue -- Copper

* Violet -- Potassium and rubidium

* Gold -- Charcoal, iron or lampblack

* White -- Titanium, aluminum, beryllium or magnesium powders


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "How fireworks produce color." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627154146.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2012, June 27). How fireworks produce color. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627154146.htm
Kansas State University. "How fireworks produce color." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627154146.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) — A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) — If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) — The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins