If you want to scientifically impress your friends tonight (or look like a hoity toity smartypants), you can tell them what the colour of fireworks really mean. See that explosion of electric white? That’s white-hot metal flakes. Gorgeous red array? Strontium Carbonate. It’s all about the chemicals, baby.
Every single time a new colour pops up, fill them in. You’ll probably sound like an insufferable prick but hey, it’s not your fault average brain size-having people think the works of fire are just sparkly magic fairy dust in the sky. You got science in your noggin’. Use it.
Here’s the complete list of the chemical cocktails that go into different fireworks, courtesy of The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota:
- Electric White: White-hot metal flakes
- Orange: Calcium salts
- Bright Red: Strontium Carbonate
- Turquoise:Copper Chloride
- Purple: Strontium (red) & Copper (blue)
- Silver Sparkle: Burning aluminium or Magnesium flakes
- Green: Barium Chloride
- Gold: Glowing Iron or Charcoal powder
- Yellow: Sodium Chloride
- A lot of chloride action going on. I’m never going to look at fireworks the same again. [The Works via BoingBoing]