Which Elements Create Colour & Effects In Fireworks?
With countless varieties of fireworks available - and a constant demand to create new effects - the demand on those manufacturing the products you enjoy is significant.
From cakes to rockets, the process varies wildly, with the creation of colour naturally integral. But how are all those magnificent colours you see made possible? We take a look at the different elements used in the fireworks' manufacturing process to explain.
Copper (CU 29) is used to create blue shades in fireworks. It can sometimes also be used to create greens. Zinc (Zn 30) can create blue-to-white colours.
Barium (Ba 56) is a key component for steadying other hazardous chemicals. It is used to create green firework effects. Calcium (Ca 20) is also sometimes used to create green effects.
Incandesce of Iron (Fe 26), when combined with carbon, is used to make golden effects.
To achieve an indigo tone, Cesium (Cs 55) is important; whilst this element can also help to oxidise a firework mixture.
Calcium (Ca 20) salts are used to create intense orange colours in fireworks.
A combination of Strontium (Sr 38) and Copper (Cu 29) is commonly used to produce purple firework effects. Whilst a little more complex to manufacture, it is essentially the old colour principle where blue + red = purple.
Strontium (Sr 38) and Lithium (Li) salts are used to create a range of red colours in fireworks.
The silver sparkles commonly seen within fireworks are often created through the use of Titanium (Ti 22).
Rubidium (Rb 37) is used for the creation of a violet-to-red colour, whilst Potassium (K 19) is useful for oxidising firework mixtures. This can help to create a purple-pink colour.
When Magnesium (Mg 12) is burnt, it creates a brilliant white colour, which can add an additional layer of spectacle to any pyro explosion. Aluminium (Al 13) is also used to create white flames and sparkle effects.
Firework manufacturers looking to produce yellow colours turn to Sodium (Na 11).
Just as important as the colours created by fireworks are the effects that partner them. Yet more elements are required to deliver these effects. Some of the common examples include:
Antimony (Sb 51) is used to create glitter effects.
Carbon (C 9) provides the fuel required to ignite a firework. Highly combustible, it's a key part of the make-up of black powder.
Chlorine (Cl 17) is a key part of the oxidisers used during the fireworks' manufacturing process.
Iron (Fe 26) is regularly used to produce sparks, with the heat of the metal deciding the shade of the spark colour.
Phosporus (P 15) helps to create glare in darker firework explosions. It may also be used to provide a 'glow-in-the-dark' effect.
Sulfur (S 16) is a common component of black powder, found in the fuel of a firework.
Zinc (Zn 30) is used to create smoke effects.