You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘colors’ tag.
Ever wonder what gives fireworks their colors?
Chemical elements, the fundamental units of all matter on Earth, are the answer.
Colors result from the burning of chemical elements. Those elements are usually part of molecular compounds.
These compounds can look quite different from the elements that created them. For example, the elements hydrogen and oxygen are gases at room temperature. But add two atoms of hydrogen to one atom of oxygen and you get water — H2O — which is liquid at room temperature.
Some compounds, however, still show their elemental traits. Sodium gives off flashes of yellow when it burns, but so does the sodium nitrate, a compound that is easier to work with (pure sodium reacts violently to water and moisture in the air).
So pyrotechnicians — the experts who create fireworks — select compounds they can more safely use and still give off an element’s color.
Blue is the most difficult color to produce, says Ben Schwegler, chief scientist of Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development. Schwegler advises the company on the science and technology behind many of its rides and shows.