Red, White, and Blue-ish? | OETA

Red, White, and Blue-ish?

Posted by Jessica Crino on

Roman Candles!        Black Cats!         M-80s!          Whisker biscuits!         Hoosker doos!


'Tis the most wonderful day of the year!!

The Fourth of July brings together all the things that just make you want to yell " 'Merica"!

My personal favorite thing about our Indepence Day celebration is that it gives me an excuse to eat only hot dogs for 3 solid days... BUT! Fireworks come in at a very close second place.

What's so cool about fireworks is that they combine some really nifty chemistry AND huge explosions! See, all those pretty colors come from different chemical compounds that happen to burn with different colors.

Red is made by burning strontium carbonate...

Red FireworkStrontium! (SrCO3)

Green comes from burning barium chloride...

Green FireworkBarium Chloride! (BaCl+)

White is made by magnesium or aluminum...

White FireworkMagnesium or Aluminum!


But here's your homework for the holiday... when you're eating some popcorn and watching some fireworks set to super patriotic music, look real close for a blue firework.

Blue FireworkA rare creature, indeed...

Blue fireworks are kind of like the unicorn of pyrotechnics. Creating a bright blue explosion takes some VERY precise chemistry... In fact, it's so difficult, that usually only the best of the best in the fireworks biz can really pull it off.

To create a blue color, you need a chemical called copper acetoarsenite. (If you're keeping track, that's Cu3As2O3Cu(C2H3O2)2.)

Not only do you need that exact chemical composition, you also have to be very careful that it doesn't burn too hot or too cold. If the chemical burns too hot, the blue color goes away. If it burns to cool, it won't be bright enough to see.

Blue fireworks are hard work, people!!!

'Merica!