How Do Fireworks Work?

How many of you will take in some fireworks this Friday?

A Fourth of July tradition, fireworks have become as patriotic as hotdogs, or seeing how many hotdogs you can stuff into your mouth in one minute.

But what exactly are fireworks?

We know they are fun to look but do we have any idea how they work? How do those colors burst into the night sky like an explosion of a Crayola box?

That is what I am wondering today…

How Do Fireworks Work?

One look at how fireworks work, reminded me that I was not very good at chemistry. Turns out it is much more complex than I had imagined.

This article explains how the different types of fireworks (firecrackers, sparklers & rockets/aerial shells) work.

If I read it correctly, it basically says that gunpowder + chemistry + nighttime = color explosion.

Check out this table that shows the compound that goes into making each firework color. I kind of always assumed that fireworks looked like little pool balls and to make different colors, you had to soak the ball in food coloring. So if you wanted a red firework you had to soak that ball in red food coloring.

I was way off. Who knew that fireworks were so complex?

Makes me wish I would have paid a little more attention in chemistry class.



Photo credit: Wikipedia