Posted in Science

How Do Fireworks Work?

Fireworks! A perfect finish to a day at Disneyland, Fourth of July’s signature event, and the way to take a Super Bowl halftime show from 0 to 100. From the luminous arrays of fireworks, to the thunderous noise heard by our ears, fireworks never fail to deliver a spectacular performance. But most of us don’t know how fireworks can even achieve those types of sights. How does a firework come out in different shapes? Why are fireworks so loud? Where do all the different colors come from? Well, let’s discuss it!

History:

The displays seen in the skies in the modern day were not able to be produced during the initial invention of fireworks. Firecrackers were made before fireworks but firecrackers were a part of the road leading to the invention of fireworks.

Image result for firecrackers
Chinese Firecrackers

 

Although the discovery of fireworks is not known too well, the most probable discoveries were all made in China. There are some sources which say firecrackers were invented over 2,000 years ago as well as some who say firecrackers were invented 1,000 years ago. Legend has it a man mixed sulphur, charcoal, and saltpeter. The mixture ended up being burnt and compressed which lead to the mixture exploding. In the old times and modern times, firecrackers were known to ward off evil spirits because of the sound it makes to scare the monsters away. Li Tian is also credited with the invention of fireworks and is still remembered currently. Every April 18, people honor Li Tian for his invention of firecrackers by offering sacrifices. In the Song dynasty, the people around even built a shrine dedicated to Li Tian for what he did. Even something as simple as a firework has a huge history!

Image result for li tian
Li Tian

 

How do firecrackers work?

Before we get going on fireworks, we need to discuss the simplest form of a firework which is the firecracker. Firecrackers contain gunpowder enveloped in paper with a fuse. When the fuse is ignited, the fuse will provide heat for the firecracker which is vital for firecrackers. There are several materials used in firecracker such as Potassium nitrate, charcoal, and Sulphur. Potassium nitrate serves as the oxidizer, a material which provides oxygen to mix with another material in order for combustion. Charcoal acts as the fuel to the whole firecracker because it produces heat and power. Sulphur is used to moderate the size of the explosion to keep the whole explosion in control. Once the firecrackers are lit up, all the chemicals will react with each other and create pressure from the nitrogen and carbon dioxide. All the built up pressure will soon be enough to burst the wrapping of the whole firecracker which creates the BOOM sound.

How do fireworks work?

Someone like me would think of the colorful array of sparks in the sky at Disneyland when the word “firework” is heard. The majority of the fireworks in the present-day are launched and exploded in the sky using gunpowder.

Image result for firework diagram
Diagram of a Typical Firework

 

In order to start the firework, you need to light the fuse to provide the heat for the firework. Nitrogen and carbon dioxide escape out of a hole on the bottom of the firework to propel the firework up into the sky. Inside the mix of gunpowder, there are colorants which determine the color of what the fireworks will be. After a few seconds, the fire reaches the second layer of a gunpowder and ignites the gunpowder giving everyone the spectacular view of the explosion.

How do fireworks come in different shapes?

The answer to this is quite simple….. You line the different fireworks in a special array (depending on what shape) and then light them all up at the same time. Scientists were not able to fully master the science of how to explode one firework into one shape so in order to make different shapes, you need to have several fireworks shoot up at the same time.

Why are fireworks so loud?

Fireworks are so loud because of the shell surrounding the bursts open creating a huge popping sound. The burning of the chemicals creates a reaction with all the gases causing the whole shell to burst creating the iconic popping sound.

 

Thank you guys for taking time to read this post! So? Did you know how fireworks worked before this? Put your comment down below! See you guys later!

 

 

 

Sources:

theticketradio.com

https://www.fireworks.com/fireworks-university/history-fireworks/

benjaaquila.com

“Passfire”: There’s a Whole World of Fireworks Out There

http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingswork/a/fireworks.htm

http://www.answers.com/Q/What_is_an_oxidizer

http://www.decodedscience.org/how-chemical-reactions-in-fireworks-produce-sounds-and-colors/1508

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Author:

Eric is my name and I’m just an average teenager with weird interests. There’s the nerdy part of my life full of math homework, essays, and checking stocks. But…………. there’s the weird part of my life where I watch YouTube, listen to various music artists, cook random things, and watch anime. My blog will consist of topics based on my obsessions or daily life. Be sure to check out my blog for recent posts!

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