What Are Fireworks and How Do They Work?

In the 14th century, firework production began in Europe and soon became popular. Lev Izmailov, an ambassador to Peter the Great, wrote in his report from China that no one in Europe had ever seen fireworks before. In 1758, Jesuit missionary Pierre Nicolas le Cheron d’Incarville described Chinese fireworks. Amedee-Francois Frezier published a Treatise on Fireworks, which addressed both the ceremonial and recreational uses of fireworks.

Explosions of fireworks

Explosions of fireworks are the result of a self-contained chemical reaction, causing physical damage to surrounding objects and people. They fall into two basic classes: detonating and flagerating. The former is usually used in ground display pieces. Deflagration fireworks are intended to deposit dangerous debris in a fallout area. Many consumer fireworks fall into either of these categories. A finale is usually the final explosion of a display.

Chemical reactions that occur during a firework explosion

The purpose of fireworks is to produce an explosive display. Fireworks are composed of a variety of chemical ingredients, including metal salts, which become excited and release light as a result of high-energy events. The goal of a firework explosion is to produce a gas quickly, as a slow chemical reaction would not result in a big explosion. To accomplish this, fireworks are engineered to have multiple, independent chambers, with different chemical mixtures igniting in succession. Gunpowder used in fireworks is primarily made of saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur. Sodium salts, on the other hand, are avoided as oxidizers, but are often used as additives to create bright yellow colors.

Hazards of exploding fireworks

When a person is exposed to a large amount of exploding fireworks, the chemicals they release into the air and water can have a wide range of health effects. Some fireworks contain radioactive materials, such as aluminum, while others contain dioxins and rubidium, which are known carcinogens. These chemicals can contaminate water sources directly and eventually move up the food chain. The American Pyrotechnics Association has published a safety poster that provides information about potential risks of fireworks.

Common chemicals used in fireworks

Fireworks are the culmination of a chemical reaction. The oxidizers in fireworks produce oxygen gas to excite the atoms of light-emitting compounds. These compounds are used to produce a variety of effects in fireworks, such as popping and exploding shells. They also double as color-producing metals. In the case of fireworks, sulfur and carbon are common oxidizers. Combined, they can produce bright orange flames, which are often referred to as a “fingerprint.”

Ways to recycle exploded fireworks

If you have a large amount of smashed, soaked, or leaking fireworks, you may be wondering how to safely dispose of them. To ensure the safety of your family and neighbors, soak these fireworks in water. It is important to immerse them completely to prevent self-heating, but this may take several hours. Soaking also prevents them from self-heating. To safely dispose of your soaked and smothered fireworks, place them in a plastic bag and put them in your garbage bin.