The brilliant, colorful displays that we see and the deafening booms we hear from fireworks displays are all the result of chemical reactions taking place inside that cardboard tube. To make the beautiful patterns high in the air that we all enjoy at celebrations throughout the year requires a careful mix of a wide assortment of chemicals.
What a particular firework is meant to do and how the designer wants it to appear when ignited will determine what choice of chemicals to use, and how to pack them into the firework. A firework display is different from a simple incendiary explosion because the ingredients of a firework are designed to burn slowly rather than all at once. This is why you often hear a steady “hiss” before the firework ignites completely. When the chemicals used in fireworks burn, the energy released is forced out one end of a narrow tube, creating that familiar hissing sound.
When that same chemical reaction occurs in an enclosed space, where released energy cannot escape gradually, the result is a single, much louder simultaneous release of gases that creates the “pop” or “boom” sound of an explosion. In the same way that a bullet fired through the barrel of a gun will travel at high speed because of all the energy directed in one direction forcing it down the tube, a firework tube uses the same chemical reaction to send a firework into the sky.
How Fireworks Create Patterns and Colors
The various patterns you see in fireworks are achieved by placing individual packets of chemicals into the firework in the shape that the firework should take when it ignites. Fuses are placed throughout the firework so that each area of the device is ignited in the proper sequence, and at just the right time to create the desired effect.
The types of chemicals used in its construction also determine the colors of a firework. Different chemicals burn at different temperatures, creating various colors as a result. These chemicals can be combined to make new colors, similar to paint mixing.
So one ignition launches the firework skyward, then the individual firework elements that were chemically formulated to burn more slowly, ignite in the air and are forced out in all directions to form the desired pattern. Whether the firework is intended to be more visual than audible, or a combination of both, the chemicals are packed to release energy all at once, or gradually into preset patterns. For example, a sparkler will burn a long time, giving off a delightful pattern of glowing, crackling energy by packing a lot of chemicals onto a stick for burning slowly in all directions.
Modern fireworks are a breathtaking and exciting combination of sight and sound. They are a manifestation of some very basic scientific principles, capable of creating intricate and jaw-dropping visual displays. Come see a wide selection of the best fireworks products at Alamo Fireworks. Visit one of our locations across Texas and in New Mexico, New Hampshire and Nevada.