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(Boing Boing)   Where do fireworks colors come from? Here comes the science   (boingboing.net) divider line 60
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6025 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Jul 2012 at 11:29 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-03 09:55:15 PM
Pales in comparison with the beauty of Atomic Energy:

"After the explosion at Reactor 4 the people of Pripyat flocked on the railway bridge just outside the city to get a good view of the reactor and see what had happened.

Initially, everyone was told that radiation level was minimal and that they were safe. Little did they know that much of the radiation had been blown onto this bridge in a huge spike."

They saw a beautiful rainbow coloured flames of the burning graphite nuclear core, whose flames were higher than the smoke stack itself. All of them are dead now - they were exposed to levels of over 500 roentgens, which is a fatal dose."
 
2012-07-03 10:03:58 PM
Well, I guess it actually is science
 
2012-07-03 10:14:08 PM
Who doesn't know this? Remember FLAME TESTS?? HELLLLOOOOOO?

/grumpy nerd
 
2012-07-03 11:15:28 PM
white-hot metal flakes

um
This isnt science. This is RTARDS typing random words.

Ignoring alloys and compounds of metals, there are 6 metalloids and 84+ metals.
Most can be made to glow white-hot. So WHICH metal???

/Science, how does it work??
 
2012-07-03 11:31:55 PM
I'm guessing the visible light spectrum.
 
2012-07-03 11:32:27 PM
It's not from Mickey Mouse's sorcery bucket?
 
2012-07-03 11:32:40 PM
The colours come from God as a symbol of his covenant to never again blast the world with explosives.

/Gen. 8:20
 
2012-07-03 11:33:03 PM
Hope, change and unicorn farts?
 
2012-07-03 11:36:18 PM
They burn according to which chemicals they are composed of!! WHARBLEDEEEEE
 
2012-07-03 11:38:27 PM
I basically looked at that link for 2 seconds.

Copper burns green, that's what I remember from Chemistry class (mostly because I hardly ever paid attention was a terrible student).
 
2012-07-03 11:38:39 PM
F*cking miracles!
 
2012-07-03 11:44:02 PM
i49.tinypic.com
 
2012-07-03 11:47:17 PM
Flame test loops, how do they work?!
 
2012-07-03 11:47:26 PM

namatad: white-hot metal flakes

um
This isnt science. This is RTARDS typing random words.

Ignoring alloys and compounds of metals, there are 6 metalloids and 84+ metals.
Most can be made to glow white-hot. So WHICH metal???

/Science, how does it work??


LOL. Your anger is also the explanation for your anger. The chart had the various colors, with the various means of achieving them. White was simply "white-hot metal flakes" exactly because so many can be made to glow white-hot.

See how when we take things out of context, we make ourselves RTARDS?
 
2012-07-03 11:49:10 PM
As a chem major, I approve this article.
 
2012-07-03 11:52:59 PM
What they left out is when they detonate too low and the burning metal fragments land on spectators, water bottles are not useful at all on some metal compounds.

/Former EMT-P
//Worst Fireworks show EVAR.
 
2012-07-03 11:54:55 PM

sidcart42: namatad: white-hot metal flakes

um
This isnt science. This is RTARDS typing random words.

Ignoring alloys and compounds of metals, there are 6 metalloids and 84+ metals.
Most can be made to glow white-hot. So WHICH metal???

/Science, how does it work??

LOL. Your anger is also the explanation for your anger. The chart had the various colors, with the various means of achieving them. White was simply "white-hot metal flakes" exactly because so many can be made to glow white-hot.

See how when we take things out of context, we make ourselves RTARDS?



NERD PWNED
 
2012-07-03 11:58:29 PM
Chemistry?
/dnrtfa
 
2012-07-04 12:02:05 AM
yeah so i came here to say that my gf and i went and watched some fireworks tonight. it was nice, just one of those simple, enjoyable evenings spent sitting on a grassy hill.
then i read the initial comment and was like "um...oh. well that's pretty sad."
 
2012-07-04 12:03:38 AM
Drew said there would be no math.
 
2012-07-04 12:03:41 AM

buzzcut73: What they left out is when they detonate too low and the burning metal fragments land on spectators, water bottles are not useful at all on some metal compounds.



uhh....newsflash, dr. science: water puts out fires. that's why those red trucks with the flashing lights are filled with WATER.
 
2012-07-04 12:05:46 AM
I don't give a rats patootie what causes the effects. I just love the show, oohs and aahs, AND the beer n bbq.
 
2012-07-04 12:07:28 AM
Pointy Tail of Satan
As a chem major, I approve this article.

As a chem instructor, I say this article completely fails to provide any depth or background as to why these metals produce colours. I've done demos for schools that do a better job than this.

Tomorrow, when the rockets glare red, you'll know that's actually strontium carbonate.

Actually, it's just the strontium ion. The carbonate is completely irrelevent, and is only there because you can't by unassociated Sr2+.
 
2012-07-04 12:08:10 AM

rickythepenguin: buzzcut73: What they left out is when they detonate too low and the burning metal fragments land on spectators, water bottles are not useful at all on some metal compounds.


uhh....newsflash, dr. science: water puts out fires. that's why those red trucks with the flashing lights are filled with WATER.


I know you're trolling, but I invite you to set a Mg strip on fire, and apply water.
Please post your results as a video link on Fark.
 
2012-07-04 12:11:05 AM
Any Santa Cruz farkers ever go to Seabright Beach on the 4th? It's crazy! Tons of people setting off their own fireworks. Some are pretty large.

It looked like the coolest firework show ever virtually non-stop once the sun set. It would be more accurate to describe it as a war zone. I got hit, multiple times, with debris from exploded fireworks. We had a couple of big ones land dangerously close to us.

Man, you haven't lived until you've seen fireworks like that...
 
2012-07-04 12:12:57 AM

rickythepenguin: buzzcut73: What they left out is when they detonate too low and the burning metal fragments land on spectators, water bottles are not useful at all on some metal compounds.


uhh....newsflash, dr. science: water puts out fires. that's why those red trucks with the flashing lights are filled with WATER.


Light some phosphorus on fire and then pour water on it*, then get back to us.

/*DANGER! DO NOT ATTEMPT! EXTREMELY HIGH RISK OF DEATH, PERMANENT INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE! FLAMMABLE METALS SUCH AS PHOSPHORUS REACT VIOLENTLY WITH WATER, USING THE OXYGEN AS FUEL AND CAUSING THE HYDROGEN TO EXPLODE!
 
2012-07-04 12:22:23 AM

King Something: rickythepenguin: buzzcut73: What they left out is when they detonate too low and the burning metal fragments land on spectators, water bottles are not useful at all on some metal compounds.


uhh....newsflash, dr. science: water puts out fires. that's why those red trucks with the flashing lights are filled with WATER.

Light some phosphorus on fire and then pour water on it*, then get back to us.

/*DANGER! DO NOT ATTEMPT! EXTREMELY HIGH RISK OF DEATH, PERMANENT INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE! FLAMMABLE METALS SUCH AS PHOSPHORUS REACT VIOLENTLY WITH WATER, USING THE OXYGEN AS FUEL AND CAUSING THE HYDROGEN TO EXPLODE!


Buzzkill.
 
2012-07-04 12:22:54 AM
Is this one of those "here comes the science" articles for people that never bothered studying science in high school? Because if so, count me the flunk out!
 
2012-07-04 12:37:06 AM
I thought they came from China.
 
2012-07-04 12:48:24 AM
/*DANGER! DO NOT ATTEMPT! EXTREMELY HIGH RISK OF DEATH, PERMANENT INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE! FLAMMABLE METALS SUCH AS PHOSPHORUS REACT VIOLENTLY WITH WATER, USINGTHE OXYGEN AS FUEL AND CAUSING THE HYDROGEN TO EXPLODE!

Worst troll ever because P is not a metal and it is actually stored in water. You're probably thinking of alkali group metals like K or Cs and no Cs doesn't stand for cocksucker but if you drop even a gram of it in some water that's what you'll be screaming after it blows up in your face.
 
2012-07-04 12:55:40 AM

OscarTamerz: /*DANGER! DO NOT ATTEMPT! EXTREMELY HIGH RISK OF DEATH, PERMANENT INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE! FLAMMABLE METALS SUCH AS PHOSPHORUS REACT VIOLENTLY WITH WATER, USINGTHE OXYGEN AS FUEL AND CAUSING THE HYDROGEN TO EXPLODE!

Worst troll ever because P is not a metal and it is actually stored in water. You're probably thinking of alkali group metals like K or Cs and no Cs doesn't stand for cocksucker but if you drop even a gram of it in some water that's what you'll be screaming after it blows up in your face.


Once white phosphorus is burning, the initial products react strongly with water, pushing all the way to phosphoric acid. Not good to try to extinguish a white phosphorus fire with water.
 
2012-07-04 12:58:08 AM
Sodium: yellow
Strontium: red
Copper: blue
Magnesium: white

Crap, I used to know how to make a gay pride flag. Now I have the US flag and a yellow ribbon. I'm turning Republican!
 
2012-07-04 01:06:30 AM
Sodium: yellow
Strontium: red
Copper: blue
Magnesium: white

Crap, I used to know how to make a gay pride flag. Now I have the US flag and a yellow ribbon. I'm turning Republican!


Potassium: purple/dark blue
Copper: actually green
Lithium: also red

Doesn't get you the rainbow, but it gets some purple in there.
 
2012-07-04 01:21:58 AM
Bondith

Copper: actually green

wat
 
2012-07-04 01:30:24 AM

studebaker hoch: Bondith

Copper: actually green

wat


Brown + Air = Green. It's simple color-math.

/it's why the Statue of Liberty is green and not plaid or polka-dotted
 
2012-07-04 01:32:50 AM

wademh:

Once white phosphorus is burning, the initial products react strongly with water, pushing all the way to phosphoric acid. Not good to try to extinguish a white phosphorus fire with water.


Phosphoric acid is the third most common ingredient in Coke after sugar and water so it isn't terribly toxic. The only problem with using water is the fire restarts once the P is exposed to air again. P burn victims are debrided under water in Hubbard tanks and there is a routine where the P is exposed to bright lights which are turned off and the particles are found in the dark by their phosphorescence. It's a very thorough method because it's considered bad form to have burn ward patients set their beds on fire.
 
2012-07-04 01:40:12 AM

King Something: studebaker hoch: Bondith

Copper: actually green

wat

Brown + Air = Green. It's simple color-math.

/it's why the Statue of Liberty is green and not plaid or polka-dotted


I thought I already covered this one.
 
2012-07-04 01:41:42 AM
This article makes my brain hurt, and not in the "oh they're doing complex science" way, but in the "oh, they're trying to dumb down complex science for people who are happier believing fireworks come from a unicorn's ass" way...
 
2012-07-04 01:43:08 AM
I remembered learning this stuff in my 7th grade science class. IIRC the best charges are perchlorate/Blackpowder/Aluminum for those extra extra boomy booms.

\DNRTFA
 
2012-07-04 01:44:38 AM

rickythepenguin: buzzcut73: What they left out is when they detonate too low and the burning metal fragments land on spectators, water bottles are not useful at all on some metal compounds.


uhh....newsflash, dr. science: water puts out fires. that's why those red trucks with the flashing lights are filled with WATER.


Yep and if that firecrew in a water truck show up and find out it's a magnesium fire, you're not going to see them pulling out hoses because that water WOULDN'T DO A DAMN THING.
 
2012-07-04 01:50:49 AM
OscarTamerz
Phosphoric acid is the third most common ingredient in Coke after sugar and water so it isn't terribly toxic. The only problem with using water is the fire restarts once the P is exposed to air again. P burn victims are debrided under water in Hubbard tanks and there is a routine where the P is exposed to bright lights which are turned off and the particles are found in the dark by their phosphorescence.

I saw that episode of M*A*S*H too.

It's a very thorough method because it's considered bad form to have burn ward patients set their beds on fire.

*snicker*

studebaker hoch
Bondith

Copper: actually green

wat


Hexaaquocopper(II) (the kind you usually get dissolved in water). The green tarnish of copper roofs is a mixture of copper oxides and carbonates. The green colour of copper in a flame is a result of emission from...actually, I'm just guessing from this point, but I think the green flame colour is a result of emission in the excited spectrum, and the blue colour is a transition in the ground-state spectrum.
 
2012-07-04 01:52:33 AM
www.magicmoviemachine.com

SCIENCE!


Also...

NSFW happy 4th. Link
 
2012-07-04 01:52:44 AM
sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net
I got your fireworks right here.


/it's not a debt clock it's a countdown until the bankers run out of time
 
2012-07-04 02:26:15 AM

King Something: studebaker hoch: Bondith

Copper: actually green

wat

Brown + Air = Green. It's simple color-math.

/it's why the Statue of Liberty is green and not plaid or polka-dotted


Copper is not green. Iron is not red. I think you are referring to it's oxidized state.

/patina
 
2012-07-04 02:27:00 AM
Show me what fireworks composition uses copper for green.

/I'm blue ladadeeladada....
 
2012-07-04 03:33:59 AM
studebaker hoch
Show me what fireworks composition uses copper for green.

I don't know nuthin' 'bout them fancy fireworks, but somewhere I have a video of me dropping blue copper sulphate into a flame and having it turn green.

It was even part of the patter when the kids were old enough to do without setting themselves on fire.

Me: *hands kid red food colouring* Here, see if this changes the colour.
*nothing happens*
Me: *yellow food colouring* How about this one?
*nothing*
Me: *green food colouring* This one?
*nope*
Me: *copper sulphate* See if this turns it blue.
*flame turns green*
Me: I said blue, not green! You're doing it wrong.
 
2012-07-04 05:00:34 AM
Hmmm, whatever happened to Paris Green? Oh yeah, it's toxic, along with a dozen other classic colors that I found in my Dad's old fireworks formulas. Heh, he got on an FBI watch list as a kid in the '60's for being too smart for his own good. Hell, most of those chemicals have become Schedule III controlled substances now... I know for a fact that Potassium Chlorate is :/
 
2012-07-04 05:07:55 AM
Fun fact: potassium chloride (tree stump "remover") and sugar cook down to a nice model rocket fuel, if you ever wanted to screw around with that sort of thing :)

I believe that's also the bulk of what goes into smoke grenades... I'll have to root around in my papers and post some recipés after a quick nap, since the wifey is still asleep in the library, and I haven't slept all night.
 
2012-07-04 06:07:46 AM
I came in here to say "child labor shops" but I looked around and wow...

I mean oh, wow!, its a fabulous chemistry nerd thread.....
 
2012-07-04 06:08:05 AM

thespindrifter: Fun fact: potassium chloride (tree stump "remover") and sugar cook down to a nice model rocket fuel, if you ever wanted to screw around with that sort of thing :)


That's awesome! My aunt has a bunch of potassium chloride -- it's sold in a shaker as a "salt substitute", even though it tastes absolutely horrifically vile. So I can just put that stuff and regular ole sucrose in a saucepan and cook up some rocket fuel? I assume it needs to be aqueous? ;)
 
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