Fireworks

In light of America’s bday (AMERICAAA), I was curious to read up on fireworks. All from Wikipedia.

Most firework rockets launched in 30 seconds

The record for the most firework rockets launched in 30 seconds is 56,405, in an attempt organized by Dr Roy Lowry (UK), executed by Fantastic Fireworks, at the 10th British Firework Championship in Plymouth, UK, on 16 August 2006.

Fireworks were invented in China in the 7th century to scare away evil spirits. Such important events and festivities as Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival were and still are times when fireworks are guaranteed sights. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.

Colors in fireworks are usually generated by pyrotechnic stars—usually just called stars—which produce intense light when ignited. Stars contain five basic types of ingredients.

  • A fuel which allows the star to burn
  • An oxidizer—a compound which produces (usually) oxygen to support the combustion of the fuel
  • Color-producing chemicals
  • A binder which holds the pellet together.
  • A chlorine donor which provides chlorine to strengthen the color of the flame. Sometimes the oxidizer can serve this purpose.

Some of the more common color-producing compounds are tabulated here. The color of a compound in a firework will be the same as its color in a flame test (shown at right). Not all compounds that produce a colored flame are appropriate for coloring fireworks, however. Ideal colorants will produce a pure, intense color when present in moderate concentration.

Color Metal Example compounds
Red Strontium (intense red)Lithium (medium red) SrCO3 (strontium carbonate)Li2CO3 (lithium carbonate) LiCl (lithium chloride)
Orange Calcium CaCl2 (calcium chloride)
Yellow Sodium NaNO3 (sodium nitrate)
Green Barium BaCl2 (barium chloride)
Blue Copper CuCl2 (copper chloride), at low temperature
Indigo Cesium CsNO3 (cesium nitrate)
Violet PotassiumRubidium (violet-red) KNO3 (potassium nitrate)RbNO3 (rubidium nitrate)
Gold Charcoal, iron, or lampblack
White Titanium, aluminum, beryllium, or magnesium powders

The brightest stars, often called Mag Stars, are fueled by aluminium. Magnesium is rarely used in the fireworks industry due to its lack of ability to form a protective oxide layer. Often an alloy of both metals called magnalium is used.

Many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of fireworks are non-toxic, while many more have some degree of toxicity, can cause skin sensitivity, or exist in dust form and are thereby inhalation hazards. Still others are poisons if directly ingested or inhaled.

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