What makes Fireworks go boom?

There’s several different types of fireworks used in celebrations. However, all fireworks have a wick attached to them, that acts as a detonation device. When ignited, gunpowder allows the firework to have the energy to go up in the air. How do fireworks get their wonderful colours? Oxidisers in the fireworks provide more oxygen so […]

Rebecca Johnson
5th November 2019
Image:Wikipedia

As the clocks go back, the chilly northern air begins to creep in and the fifteen tog duvets make a return, it also means that Bonfire Night is approaching. Bonfire Night is a true staple in Britain, with fireworks being set off on November 5th to commemorate Guy Fawkes, the bloke who tried to blow up King James and Parliament in 1605.

There’s several different types of fireworks used in celebrations. However, all fireworks have a wick attached to them, that acts as a detonation device. When ignited, gunpowder allows the firework to have the energy to go up in the air.

How do fireworks get their wonderful colours? Oxidisers in the fireworks provide more oxygen so when they ignite in the air, the oxidisers and metals react to produce an array of bright colours. Aluminium and magnesium tend to create bright white and silver colours. Metal salts are the substances that when burnt, produce the different colours. Things like Lithium chloride give off a red colour, potassium chloride is more purple and calcium chloride is an orange. Combining these metal salts generates a whole host of colours.

Image:F;ickr

Firework manufacturers have to be careful about what gets packed into the firework to ensure that the height, bang and colours are all stable enough so that no one is harmed.

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