The splendid fireworks come from precise chemical reactions

- Apr 01, 2021-

The science of fireworks is a chemical wonder that can be traced back to ancient China. In China, between 600 and 900 AD, the first known fireworks sounded in the sky. Chinese alchemists were originally created to defend against evil spirits. They used saltpeter (potassium nitrate, a food preservative), charcoal, sulfur and other ingredients to make these early gunpowder to make these lights. When thrown into a fire, the mixture will explode loudly and explode.

The main component of traditional fireworks is black powder, which contains sulfur (S), charcoal (C), and potassium nitrate (KNO3). The reaction equation is: 10KNO3+8C+3S=2K2CO3+3K2SO4+5N2+6CO2

Some fireworks also contain potassium chlorate KClO₃ and potassium perchlorate KClO4. Gradually, Chinese gunpowder samples and chemical formulas used to make fireworks began to spread on the Silk Road to European and Middle Eastern countries, which used fireworks to mark military events and festival celebrations.


The colorful explosions Americans saw in the fireworks display occurred in the 1830s, when Italian inventors added metals such as strontium to make red fireworks, and barium added barium to make green fireworks. Since then, the fireworks have presented new, vibrant lights and colors.


The blooming effect of fireworks mainly depends on the gunpowder formula, which usually contains oxidants, combustibles, binders and functional additives (flame colorants, combustion promoters and propellants, etc.). Pack the gunpowder particles in the body of the firework. These capsules eventually caused the fireworks to burst. These pellets also contain colorants and binders. The colorant chemicals help determine the different colors we see, while the binder (usually dextrin) binds the fuel, oxidizer, and colorant in the particles. When the package explodes, the chemical element emits light and the colorant produces a very special wavelength that can be seen by the naked eye.