Sunday, 20 February 2011


There is a more interesting activity to explain how fireworks are made, without actually exposing the students to greater risk. ( I have to say greater because there is still a risk doing this practical.) How do fireworks create that spectacular fountain of colours and amazed young and old alike. The gorgeous exploding mixture of purples and reds, blues, yellows, greens, lilac, is just a salt away. Chemistry has loads to offer when it comes to interesting activities, and this is one of those.

Sparklers and fireworks contain metal compounds. These compounds give them the different colours that you see in firework displays.  Prepare some of the following metal compounds and try it first before you do this activity in the laboratory. Also, soak wooden splints in a beaker. 

The salts are listed below and opposite are the corresponding colours it gives.

Magnesium                                  bright white
Sodium salts                                yellow
Copper(II) chloride                   turquoise
Lithium carbonate                      red
Barium carbonated                    green
Lead nitrate                                lilac

Using the wet end of the wooden splint, dip it into the powder/salt and place it unto the blue part of the Bunsen burner flame.  Observe the different colours produced by different compounds.

Note: You can also try testing solutions out of the same compounds.

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