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The Chemistry of Fireworks
Transcript of The Chemistry of Fireworks
Their Effect on the Environment
All the colors..
Different Types of Fireworks
For more information Visit:
How are the colors produced?
The Chemistry Behind
Originally made up of gun powder wrapped in paper with a fuse at the end
Components of gun powder:
75% potassium Nitrate (KNO3)
15% Charcoal (C) or sugar
10% Sulfur (S)
by Sara Hakim and Caroline Labib
How are the sounds produced?
Attri, A. K., Kumar, U., & Jain, V. K. (2001). Microclimate: Formation of ozone by fireworks.
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Lancaster, R., Butler, R. E., Lancaster, J., & Shimizu, T. (1992). Fireworks: Principles and practice.
Russell, M. S. (2009). The chemistry of fireworks.
Royal Society of Chemistry.
Brown, T.L., LeMay , H. E. Jr. , Bursten, B.E., Murphy, C.J., Woodward, P.M. 2012. Chemistry: The Central Science. Twelfth Edition.
How We See The Colors?
The burning reactions vaporizes the gun powder
The Coloring agents mix in and as it explodes, the hot gas atoms collide against each other.
electrons jump in higher orbitals in an atom
The excited electrons return to the ground state and release energy in form of light. The color of the light is determined by the amount of energy released.
The Heat decomposes the oxidizing agent that produces O2
oxygen required to burn material
Potassium Nitrate KNO3 (Most common) -
most stable; slow burning
2 KNO3 --> K2O + 3 O2 + N2 + Energy
give up all oxygen, can produce temperatures of 1700 to 2000˚C , very unstable, could produce rxn by dropping on the ground
more stable, oxygen-rich, intense rxns
KClO4 --> 2 O2 + KCl
O2 reacts with sulfur or carbon to form hot gases
create sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide
source: Russell, M. S. (2009). The chemistry of fireworks. Royal Society of Chemistry. Chicago.
Russell, M. S. (2009). The chemistry of fireworks. Royal Society of Chemistry. Chicago.
The word for firework in Japanese, 'hanabi', means 'fire-flower'.
Half of all firework accidents happen to children under the age of 16.
The first fireworks recorded in America were set off by an Englishman, Captain John Smith, famous in the story of Pocahontas.
It is unlawful in California to posses fireworks and fines are up 10 $1,000 and/or one year in county jail. However, the possession of fireworks in large amounts can lead to 3 years in the California State prison and fines as high as $50,000.
A mixture at the bottom of the tube made out of Potassium Benzoate/Sinosilate oscillates when burned which pushes away the tube.
A hole is drawn in the middle, it whistles irregularly & creates screecher.
The sealing around the tube to stop the gas from escaping creates a bang when the gas eventually escapes from high pressure.
3 types of sounds are involved
Smoke contains mix of sulfuric compounds and harmful fumes (ex. sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide), traces of heavy metals, and other toxic chemical gases (contribute to acid rain)
Greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide and ozone gas, which contributes to global warming
Unleash a shower of toxins and scatter plastic debris into soil and water
Many of chemicals are non degradable thus they can be carried away by rain and end up in lakes, rivers, and oceans, affecting animals such as fish.
Gunpowder that fuels the flight of a firework and the metallic compounds that color the explosion often contain carcinogenic or hormone - disrupting substances
Toxic dusts can enter and clog lungs
Effects on Humans
Fireworks are harmful to the environment including the organisms that live in it.
Regulations should be more strict regarding the use of fireworks especially in populated areas.
Chemists are working on developing eco-friendly fireworks, however, as of today, the fireworks developed have not been proven to be 100% safe.