The Chemistry of Fireworks


I chose fireworks as my Chemistry of because I think they are interesting and have been watching them for most of my life, but don’t know exactly how they function.

My life is affected by fireworks because I watch them about once a year, if not more, and they have always been a huge part of my Fourth of July weekend.

Composition of ...

There are many materials needed for the construction of fireworks. The major one is black powder. Black powder is a mixture of salt-peter (potassium nitrate), charcoal, and sulfur in a 75-15-10 ratio of weight. It gives the firework the explosive and launching abilities. The different materials within the powder gives the color. Flash powder is also needed depending on what type of firework is being used. Flash powder is potassium chlorate, sulfur and aluminum. If it is enclosed in a container, even the smallest amounts will produce a loud report and a violent explosion.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to the 7th century China, where they were invented. Today they are used around the world to symbolize many celebrations or new beginnings. Pyrotechnical competitors involving fireworks are held in many countries. One of the most prestigious fireworks competitions in held in Montreal, Canada. Fireworks can be a very complicated item. They consist of: lift charge, main fuse, launch tube, black powder, stars, true-delay fuse, and the break. The most fireworks launched in 30 seconds is 125,801 in the Philippines in May 2010. The record for the largest firework display consisted of 66,326 fireworks in Portugal.

Background Research

There are many components in fireworks. The two main particles that make them up are magnesium and titanium. Magnesium is a great conductor and is susceptible to heat.


About the Author

Cody Carlson