Every New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, fireworks are set off all across the globe! Today, we’re discussing the science behind fireworks!

These colorful light displays require a fuel, an oxidizer, and a chemical mixture. When the firework comes in contact with fire, the oxidizer breaks reacts with the fuel, which then releases a large amount of energy.

Fireworks explode because of a chemical reaction. To create this explosion, metal salts are combined with chemicals. This causes a very fast reaction, which gives off energy as heat. The explosion is caused by the speed an temperature of the reaction. Fireworks are an example of a controlled explosion. The explosion is directed down so that the firework goes towards the sky. While metal salts are an essential part of the explosion, they also determine the color of the firework! For example, sodium creates an orange color and copper creates a blue-green color! Metal salts can also be mixed in the firework.

Fireworks Fun Facts:

  • They were invented in ancient China!
  • On New Years Day in 1996, Hong Kong celebrated with a 22 hour long fireworks display.
  • Using different types of metal or fuel can change the sound a firework makes!