Tag: pyrotechnics

The chemistry of the colours of fireworks

Infographic on the chemistry of fireworks. Red fireworks: strontium salts. Orange fireworks: calcium salts. Yellow fireworks: sodium salts. Green fireworks: barium salts. Blue fireworks: copper salts. Purple fireworks: combination of strontium and copper compounds. Silver: white hot magnesium and aluminium. White: burning metal. Fireworks also contain fuel to allow the firework to burn, oxidisers to provide oxygen for combustion, binders to hold the mixture together and chlorine donors to strengthen some colours.
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The colours in fireworks stem from a wide variety of metal compounds – particularly metal salts. ‘Salt’ as a word conjures up images of the normal table salt you probably use every day; whilst this is one type of salt (sodium chloride), in chemistry ‘salt’ refers to any compound that¬†contains metal and non-metal atoms ionically bonded together. So, how do these compounds give a huge range of colours, and what else is needed to produce fireworks?

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