Periodic Table of Fireworks

Periodic Table of Firework Colors
Periodic table of Fireworks

Fireworks are a colorful display on summer nights. Have you ever wondered about the chemistry of those bright colored explosions? The colors produced depend on the elements added to the firework before they are launched. This periodic table of fireworks highlights the common elements used to produce colors and effects.

Elements Used in Fireworks

Element 3: Lithium

Lithium is used to add red color to a firework. The most common form of lithium used is lithium carbonate, Li2CO3.

Element 6: Carbon

Carbon is typically black in color, making it useless for night sky displays. It serves as the fuel for the combustion of the firework. It is also important in fireworks as a component of black powder. Black powder is used as the propellant to launch the firework into the sky. Carbon is also found in the ash of black snakes fireworks.

Element 8: Oxygen

Oxygen does not impart a color to fireworks, but oxygen is essential to cause the reactions that produce the colors. It is also the main element in the combustion of the firework.

Element 11: Sodium

Sodium burns with a bright yellow color. Common table salt NaCl is often used for yellow color in a firework.

Element 12: Magnesium

Magnesium imparts a bright white light when burned. Magnesium chloride, MgCl2 is used to produce bright sparks and enhance the brilliance of a firework.

Element 13: Aluminum

Aluminum metal is used to produce silver colored sparks. The most common use of this in fireworks is the sparkler.

Element 17: Chlorine

Chlorine is a common component of the metal salts used to produce colors in fireworks. It is also found in many of the oxidizing agents used to fuel the combustion reactions.

Element 19: Potassium

Potassium is a component of many of the oxidizers used in fireworks. Potassium chlorate (KClO3), potassium nitrate (KNO3) or saltpeter, and potassium perchlorate (KClO4) are all common oxidizers used as fuel for propellants and combustion.

Element 20: Calcium

Calcium is used to produce an orange color to fireworks. Adding calcium to a firework also deepens the colors produced in the combustion.

Element 22: Titanium

Titanium metal is added to produce silver colored sparks.

Element 26: Iron

Iron is added to produce sparks. The color of the sparks depends on the temperature of the burning iron. The color can range from red to bright orange in fireworks.

Element 29: Copper

Burning copper salts are responsible for the blue colors seen in fireworks.

Element 30: Zinc

Zinc metal is used to produce smoke effects in fireworks.

Element 38: Strontium

Strontium salts are used to produce red in many fireworks. Strontium is also used to stabilize the chemical mixtures in fireworks.

Element 51: Antimony

The glitter effect seen in many fireworks is produced by burning antimony.

Element 56: Barium

Barium salts produce green in fireworks. The common barium salt used is barium chloride, BaCl2. Barium is also used to stabilize firework mixtures.

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