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How do Fireworks Get Their Colour? Part One

Yes, another science related fireworks post, but if you guys keep reading them, we’re going to keep writing them!
This time we’re turning our attention to how fireworks get their colour. With so many different colours of fireworks available it stands to reason that something needs to be different in each firework, or else they’d all be the same.
If you love our science type posts, check out this post from last year on How Fireworks Make Their Sound.
Now, it’s time to look at how they get their colour.

Pyrotechnic Stars

Pyrotechnic Stars aren’t a cool sounding brand of fireworks or a great idea for a name for a fireworks company. They are what are usually responsible for the colour of fireworks. It is these pyrotechnic stars that burn, producing light when ignited, giving us those fantastic reds, blues, purples, and the other vivid colours we all love to see.
These pyrotechnic stars contain five basic ingredients. Fuel, which causes the pyrotechnic star to burn. An oxidizing agent that helps the burn – we all know combustion requires oxygen, right? What is known as chlorine donor – chlorine can improve the strength of the flame, though sometimes this is included within the oxidizing agent. Colour producing chemicals, which we will explore below, and a binding agent that holds everything together.
For each colour we’ve provided a video of a firework containing that colour and a link to that firework’s page on the Firework Crazy website.

Red Fireworks

Red fireworks are created by the presence of strontium and lithium compounds. Strontium is used to create intense red colours, while lighter red fireworks will contain lithium.

This firework is Storm by Celtic Fireworks.

Orange Fireworks

Orange fireworks are created when calcium compounds are found inside the pyrotechnic stars.

This firework is the brilliant Tequila Sunrise by Celtic Fireworks.

Yellow Fireworks

Sodium compounds are found in yellow fireworks. That doesn’t mean you should start thinking about grabbing the salt and trying to make your own homemade fireworks though!

This firework is Glitter Glamour by Celtic Fireworks.

Blue Fireworks

Copper halides – a halide being a binary compound – help to make fireworks that are blue. What is somewhat unusual about the copper compounds in blue fireworks is that they need to be burned at a low temperature in order to go blue. However, if a blue-green or a fuller green colour is desired, they can be burned at a higher temperature.

This firework is Claymore by Absolute Fireworks.

Green Fireworks

As we mentioned green fireworks above we’ll end part one mentioning that barium compounds are what is usually used to give fireworks a green colour.

This firework is Lock & Load by Skycrafter.

Fireworks Colours

What is your favourite fireworks colour, and why? We’ll be back tomorrow with part two, but in the meantime why not get in touch with us via Twitter or on our Facebook page to let us know which fireworks are your favourite, whether at displays or when you’re looking to buy fireworks for your own use.
Remember that our biggest ever Super Summer Sale is still continuing if you’re looking to pick up a cool bargain, while you might find even more great fireworks at our usual fireworks sale and special offers page.

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