Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fireworks and Metal Lab


Today students performed a laboratory experiment that involved metals and their electrons. Students had watched a video clip the previous day about the making of fireworks (this video is in the bar to the right if you want to learn about the makings of fireworks too (or relive it if you've seen it already)).

Gunpowder is used to get things going and explode the firework into the sky. The gunpowder in different parts of the wrapping also helps explode the fireworks outward so that the colors spread.

Different metals are used to produce different colors in fireworks. This is because of the electrons of the elements. The more excited the electrons become the more light will be produced. This also affects the color that is produced. Red colors have the least amount of energy. Blue and purple have the most amount of energy.

I took photos during the lab, but had some trouble capturing the intensity and brightness of the colors. Just ask a student how cool it was. :)

For more information about fireworks, check out the following links and watch the video in the sidebar.
About.com - Chemistry of Firework colors
Thermodynamics - Fireworks
video

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