Background of Fireworks

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 887 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Oct 23, 2018

Words: 887|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Oct 23, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Making of Fireworks
  2. Chemicals in Fireworks
  3. Environmental Damage with the Use of Fireworks

A firework is a kind of device that produces a visual and auditory effect. The earliest versions of fireworks were tubes made from paper and bamboo, and they were filled with finely ground charcoal and sulfur. These types of fireworks were used in China almost two thousand years ago. The tubes produced a flash of fire and smoke when ignited, but created no explosion. Fireworks that created an explosion couldn’t be created until saltpeter mixed with sulfur and charcoal. Most evidence says that black powder was first made in China, but some evidence suggests it was invented by the Arabs. The Chinese mainly used black powder to create bombs, rockets, and fire-work signals. Black powder was introduced to Europe in the 14th century. It was used as an explosive for both fireworks and guns. Black powder was used as gunpowder up until the late 19th century when it was replaced by nitrocellulose, but it is still used in fireworks today. The fireworks in China evolved from simple firecrackers to magnificent displays witnessed by European explorers in the 16th century. Fireworks in Europe began as military explosives but were adapted for the use for celebrating victories and eventually became elaborate displays designed by Italian pyrotechnics I the 16th century. Although the firework displays by the Italians were complex and impressive, the technology of the time limited their color and brightness, but the introduction of aluminum and magnesium greatly increased their brightness. While the development of potassium chlorate made it possible to produce more intense colors. Fireworks became bigger, more powerful, and more dangerous during the 20th century. There have been more than 4,000 deaths caused by fireworks between 1900 and 1930. The Federal and State Governments began regulating the use of fireworks in the 1930s. Fireworks such as silver salutes and cherry bombs are banned from all states, but continue to be sold illegally. While the private use of fireworks is super restricted, while public displays have become more elaborate.

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Making of Fireworks

There are several forms of fireworks that have different building processes. The first type of fireworks is sparklers. Sparklers produce bright and showery light that lasts up to a minute. Sparklers are made from several components including a fuel, an oxidizer, iron or steel powder, and a binder. The fuel used is black powder and the binder is made with either starch or sugar. When the binder and fuel are mixed with water, they create a slurry that can be coated on a wire. Once it dries, you have a sparkler! Aerial fireworks are quite a bit different since they are usually formed as a shell. A shell typically has four parts, the container, stars, bursting charge, and a fuse. The container is usually made from pasted paper, and stars are a sparkler like product in the shape and size of a pea. A bursting charge is a fire-cracker like-charge at the center of the shell. The container is filled with stars and black powder, then it’s launched into the air via a short steel pipe called a mortar!

Chemicals in Fireworks

We’ve already discussed some of the chemicals used in fireworks, like charcoal, Sulphur, and saltpeter. Only those chemicals are mainly used in the building process, we haven’t talked about the elements that create the brilliant colors that are created by fireworks. There are two main mechanisms of color production in fireworks, incandescence, and luminescence. Incandescence light is produced from heat. Heat causes a substance to become hot and glow, initially emitting infrared, then red, orange, yellow, and white light as it becomes increasingly hotter. Luminescence light is produced using energy sources other than heat. Luminescence light is sometimes called cold light because it can occur at room temperature and cooler temperatures. To produce luminescence light, an electron of an atom absorbs energy, causing it to become excited, but unstable. The heat from the firework provides the energy required. When the electron returns to a lower energy level, the energy is released in the form of a photon. The energy of the photon determines its wavelength and color. There are quite a few compounds that can make distinct colors. The compounds that make a red color are strontium salts and lithium salts. Calcium salts and calcium chloride make an orange color. An `incandescence of iron will make a gold color. Sodium compounds will produce a yellow color. White-hot metals such as magnesium and aluminum will create a white color.

Barium chloride will produce a green color. Copper compounds plus a chlorine producer will make blue. And finally, to produce purple, a mixture of strontium and copper compounds.

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Environmental Damage with the Use of Fireworks

Fireworks might be pretty to look at but when fireworks are shot off and exploded, they release toxins into the air and leaves deposits on soil, crops, and water. For example, copper burns blue but releases dioxins, which can cause cancer. Also, black powder alone leaves behind potassium carbonate, potassium sulfate, and sulfide, plus unreacted sulfur and levels of fine particles that cause asthma, cancer, and other respiratory problems. A 2002 article estimated that U.S. firework show may have generated 90 tons air born lead pollution. According to a National Fire Protection Association report, fireworks cause an average of 18,500 fires per year.

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Cite this Essay

Background of Fireworks. (2018, October 23). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Background of Fireworks.” GradesFixer, 23 Oct. 2018,
Background of Fireworks. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
Background of Fireworks [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 23 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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