Ever wondered the science behind those glow in the dark effects? Pyrotechnics are nothing but the art of creating the firework display. The Chinese invented fireworks around 960AD which are now the part and prestige of every celebration across the world. The gears behind the brilliant colours and designs are a fusion of chemistry, physics and mathematics. People all over the world enjoy the tremendous booms of crackers, however, for science, these are the mass of powerful chemicals and fuels mounted together and calibrated to produce specific designs and colours.
The aerial magic of colours in the sky is the result of the explosion of a firework shell, with packed stars that are propelled to the air. The shell consists of gunpowder which is a mixture of charcoal, sulphur and potassium, in a paper tube with fuse installed to spark the tube. The outer cylinder is made of plastic or metal, where the gunpowder is filled with bottom of stars. The stars, in different shapes like cubes, spheres, cylindrical are nothing but the compounds that create colour and effects. The multiple fuses which ignite upon charge control the delay in time of the explosion.
The chemical makeup has a specific recipe for each colour with the deliberate addition of metallic compounds during the manufacture of stars. The pre-defined sculpting and mixing of stars emits specific colours and explodes to the sky with vibrant colours. The intensity of burst charge, the strength of the shell and the size of the stars is the foundation for the width of the display.
The elements like calcium emit less energy and correspond to the brilliant orange with a longer wavelength. The mixture of Strontium and copper with its oxides and carbonates has violet hues, which is the most difficult one to create. Barium compounds have green shades while crimsons and corals from Lithium compounds. Technological advancements made it possible to create multiple hues canvas capturing millions to the show.