How do fireworks get their color?

Ever wondered where fireworks get their color? WTVA's Chief Meteorologist Matt Laubhan explains.

Posted: Jul 4, 2019 11:54 PM
Updated: Jul 5, 2019 12:17 AM

TUPELO, Miss (WTVA) -- If you're anything like my kids, I bet you love to admire the vivid colors in fireworks.

Who am I kidding? I love it too! Believe it or not, the color is created when the firework burns up little bits of metal. The colors you see are created depending on the metal is in the firework.

Each of the individual bursts of color you see is part of what's called a "pyrotechnic star." Each of these stars is made up of a fuel that allows it to burn, chemicals that enhance the burning and hold the "star" together, and a metal salt, which gives the "star" its color.

Which metal salts create which colors? When burned, magnesium creates a white color, copper creates blue, barium creates green, strontium creates red, copper and strontium are combined to create violet, sodium creates yellow, and calcium creates orange.

So the next time you see a bright red firework, you'll know that strontium is responsible for that "rocket's red glare."

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