Fireworks & Pyrotechnics
Chemistry of Firework Colors
Fireworks combine art and science. Learn about the chemistry behind firework colors, including the mechanisms of color production and a table listing colorants.
How Fireworks Work
Firecrackers, sparklers, and aerial fireworks are all examples of fireworks. Here's a look at the different types of fireworks and an explanation of how they work.
Firework Periodic Table
Use this special periodic table to find out what elements are found in fireworks and how they are used. Just click on an element to learn more.
History of Fireworks
Fireworks are a traditional part of most Independence Day and New Year's celebrations. Learn about the invention of fireworks and the history behind how fireworks are used.
Fireworks Chemistry Quiz
How much do you know about how fireworks work and how they are colored? Here's a ten question quiz you can take to test your knowledge of fireworks science.
Smoke Bomb Instructions
You can easily make a smoke bomb using inexpensive materials to produce safe smoke.
Learn how to make your own sparklers, for Independence Day or New Years Day fun. Use your understanding of chemistry to color the sparks.
How to Light Fireworks Safely
Here are some tips to help you light your fireworks safely.
Black Powder or Gunpowder Facts
Black powder is used as a propellant for bullets, as well as for fireworks and rocketry. Use these instructions for history, not practical application!
Black Powder Composition
The composition of black powder or gunpowder is not set. In fact, several different compositions have been used throughout history. Here's a look at some of the most notable or common compositions, plus the composition of modern black powder.
Black Snakes or Glow Worms
You can make black snake or glow worm fireworks yourself, safely and easily.
Fireworks Photo Gallery
Take a look at some fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
Fire & Flames Photo Gallery
Fire and flames are the visible result of combustion. Usually they consist of light and hot gases. Here's a look at some fire, flames, and pyrotechnics.
Colored Smoke Recipes
Colored smoke is easy to make and requires few ingredients. Here's a list of some colored smoke formulations to try.
Blue Fire Instructions
It's very easy to make blue fire. Here are a few of the ways you can make blue fire yourself.
Can a Candle Burn in Zero Gravity?
Can a candle burn in the absence of gravity? Here's the answer to this frequently asked question about fire.
Classic Chemical Volcano
Here are the instructions for making the classic chemical volcano. This demonstration uses ammonium dichromate to produce 'Vesuvius fire', with glowing sparks and a cone of deep green ash.
Colored Fire Rainbow
These are instructions for making colored fire in all the colors of the rainbow.
Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the functions of the chemical elements in fireworks.
If you can find a tee shirt and some lighter fluid, you can make small fireballs. These fireballs are re-useable. Theoretically, you can hold them in your hand.
Firebreathing involves breathing a fine mist of fuel over an open flame to form a fireball. It's the most stunning fire trick and potentially the most risky since most firebreathing involves using a flammable, toxic fuel. Here are instructions for a safer form of firebreathing, using a non-flammable, non-toxic fuel that you have in your kitchen.
Fire Breathing Video Tutorial
Learn how to breathe fire safely using a non-toxic kitchen ingredient.
Kick the traditional smoke bomb recipe up a notch to make a firework fountain that shoots purple flames with lots of smoke. This is a fun and easy homemade firework project.
Green Fire Halloween Jack-o-Lantern
A Halloween jack-o-lantern filled with green fire is much more impressive than one lit with the usual candle. Here's how to produce this easy effect yourself.
Green Fire Instructions
It's easy to make brilliant green fire. This cool chemistry project only takes two household chemicals.
Green Fire Video
See how to make green fire using common chemicals. You can apply the same method to produce fire in other colors using different metal salts.
History of Matches
Fire may have been around since the dawn of civilization, but matches are a fairly recent invention. Learn about the somewhat gruesome history of the chemical or friction match and how antimony and phosphorus are used to start fire.
How Do Safety Matches Work?
Learn about how safety matches work and why they are considered 'safe'.
How Do Sparklers Work?
This type of firework produces a cascade of fiery sparks. Learn about the chemistry behind the sparks or find formulae to make your own!
How To Color Fire
Have you ever wanted to color fire? Here are simple, nontechnical instructions for making your own colored flames. Add extra interest to your fireplace or campfire!
How to Make Black Powder or Gunpower
Black powder is used in fireworks and pyrotechnics. It's easy to get, but if you are a real do-it-yourself type, here is how to make it.
A match rocket is an extremely simple rocket to construct and launch. The match rocket illustrates many rocketry principles, including basic jet propulsion and Newton's laws of motion. Match rockets fly several meters, in a burst of heat and flame.
If ordinary fire just doesn't do it for you, why not kick it up a notch by making it into orange fire? It's easy to make orange flames. Here's what you do.
Pharaoh's Snake Firework
Pharaoh's snake or Pharaoh's serpent is a small firework that produces a growing snake of ash when it is ignited. Here's how you can make Pharaoh's snake yourself for a firework or a chemistry pyrotechnic demonstration.
Red Fire Instructions
Red fire is easy to produce. This is a classic color for sparklers and fireworks as well as holiday parties. It would also be a cheery coloration for a campfire or fireplace.
Safe Smoke Bomb Instructions
A classic smoke bomb is easy to make and safe to use, but you can make the project even safer if you don't heat the ingredients. Here's what you do.
Smoke Bomb Recipes
Smoke bombs are easy and fun to make and light. There are several types of smoke bombs you can make, plus you can use the smoke bomb recipe as a starting point for other types of pyrotechnic devices. Try these recipes for making your own smoke bombs.
Smoking Fingers Trick
Make your fingers smoke when you rub them together and glow in the dark. All you need is a matchbox and a way to burn the striker portion.
It's very simple to make violet or purple fire. All you need are two easy-to-find ingredients.
What is the State of Matter of Fire?
What is the state of matter of fire or flame? Is it a liquid, solid, or gas? Learn the answer to this question and get information about the chemistry of fire.
Most flames from candles or wood burning fire are yellow, but you can color a blue flame so that it will become yellow. Here's what you do.
Aluminum - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element aluminum or aluminium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Antimony - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element antimony in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Barium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element barium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Calcium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element calcium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Carbon - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element carbon in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Chlorine - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element chlorine in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Copper - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element copper in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Iron - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element iron in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Lithium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of lithium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Magnesium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element magnesium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Oxygen - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element oxygen in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Phosphorus - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element phosphorus in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Potassium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element potassium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Sodium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element sodium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Strontium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element strontium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Sulfur - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element sulfur in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Titanium - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element titanium in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Zinc - Elements in Fireworks
Learn about the use of the element zinc in fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Crackerjacks, Inc. Fireworks Club
This club's homepage includes club information, a library, photo gallery, movie theater, and links.
efg's Fireworks, Half a Dozen Pi's, and the Fourth of July
This site describes how to estimate how big firework bursts are in the sky. There are instructions for constructing your own astrolabe and links to relevant websites.
Fireworks: The Science Behind the Spectacle
This Thinkquest site offers sections on the physics, chemistry, construction, and history of fireworks. The site is available in English or Spanish.
How do fireworks work?
This is a response to a question about how fireworks work, from the MadSci Network. The answer is concise and non-technical.
Larry Crump's Fireworks Pages
Larry, a licensed pyrotechnician, offers a comprehensive website about fireworks, including a virtual visit to a fireworks factory, safety information, numerous photographs, pyrotechnician information, links, and many additional resources.
National Council on Fireworks Safety, The
The Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to safe enjoyment of fireworks in the US. The site includes safety information, a virtual safety classroom, statistics, fire service information, news, a members' section, and donation information.
Pyrotechnics Guild International, Inc.
The Guild's homepage offers information about membership, conventions and other events, safety, and links.
Shooting Fireworks: Capture the Spectacle
Smithsonian photographers offer tips on photographing fireworks, including advice on selecting the location and timing the exposure.
Whoosh...Bang! Happy New Year
The Alaska Science Forum, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks provides this article, which briefly describes the chemistry of firework colors.
Wouter's Practical Pyrotechnics Page
Wouter Vissel's page offers information about its author, starting a pyrotechnics hobby, chemicals, tools, formulae, device components, instructions for finished devices, and links.
Chemistry of Firework Colors
Fireworks combine art and science. This article focuses on the chemistry behind firework colors, including the mechanisms of color production and a table listing colorants. There are links to websites about fireworks - some with instructions for making your own!