Black powder, magnesium and aluminum=FIREWORKS!

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National Geographic Kids has a short and sweet slide show description of fireworks. Turns out my personal favorite, The Weeping Willow,  (pictured left) is made by adding an excess of charcoal to the firework. Photo by Ramon Gutierrez.

  • John T. Collier

    Nice slides of fireworks. The other day, I stumbled upon an interesting video of a festival on the Greek island of Chios in which neighboring towns fling 50,000 rockets at one another in order to hit the church bells. They protect the buildings with wire mesh…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PijfPZx88I

    Now that’s my kind of festival!

  • John T. Collier

    Nice slides of fireworks. The other day, I stumbled upon an interesting video of a festival on the Greek island of Chios in which neighboring towns fling 50,000 rockets at one another in order to hit the church bells. They protect the buildings with wire mesh…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PijfPZx88I

    Now that’s my kind of festival!

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  • As much as I also enjoy fireworks, I also worry about the amount of pollution they create! This is another example of the double-edged sword of technology- the wonderful product versus the toxic waste it becomes/creates when discarded/used. This is like compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and batteries (all kinds). These all have heavy metal components that when discarded improperly, contribute to the environmental toxin load.

    The beautiful colors are sue to metal combustion. There are also organic (carbon & hydrogen compounds) components that burn as well- all of which create a toxic cloud. Remember how China worked so hard to clean the air before the Olympics (I never said they succeeded)? Well, they may have pretty much restored the toxic particle air contamination with their impressive fireworks display. I remember seeing this huge pall of toxic gas that was almost opaque blanketing the stadium region… Multiply this many times (albeit at different scales) all over the world on New Years or across our country on the 4th of July!

    Now, I imagine someone could make oodles of money making a non-toxic/eco-friendly firework with the same “ooh-aah” factor!

  • As much as I also enjoy fireworks, I also worry about the amount of pollution they create! This is another example of the double-edged sword of technology- the wonderful product versus the toxic waste it becomes/creates when discarded/used. This is like compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and batteries (all kinds). These all have heavy metal components that when discarded improperly, contribute to the environmental toxin load.

    The beautiful colors are sue to metal combustion. There are also organic (carbon & hydrogen compounds) components that burn as well- all of which create a toxic cloud. Remember how China worked so hard to clean the air before the Olympics (I never said they succeeded)? Well, they may have pretty much restored the toxic particle air contamination with their impressive fireworks display. I remember seeing this huge pall of toxic gas that was almost opaque blanketing the stadium region… Multiply this many times (albeit at different scales) all over the world on New Years or across our country on the 4th of July!

    Now, I imagine someone could make oodles of money making a non-toxic/eco-friendly firework with the same “ooh-aah” factor!