Monday, July 6, 2009

How do they make fireworks in different shapes?

We missed out on the fireworks this year. The show was after Jessie's bedtime, plus, at her age (14 months) she'd probably be more terrified than excited about all the loud booms. Chris and I miss seeing fireworks. The last time we saw a real fireworks show was in 2006, I think. My favorite types of fireworks are the kind that explode into those giant expanding 3D balls, and the blue ones -- the most expensive color. The blue color comes from copper salts, such as copper(I) chloride, which is unstable at high temperatures, so the firework has to burn bright enough to be seen, but it can't get too hot. Here's a list of metal salts and the colors that they produce in fireworks.

Have you ever wondered how they make fireworks that produce shapes like stars and hearts? Apparently they paste the metal salt pellets on a piece of paper in the desired pattern, and then place explosive charges above and below the paper in the shell. When the pellets go off, they spread out in the same pattern as they were arranged on the piece of paper. Cool!

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