The Chemistry of Fireworks describes how these perennial crowd-pleasers represent chemistry-in-action with a demonstration by fireworks expert John A. Conkling, Ph.D. Author of The Chemistry of Pyrotechnics, Basic Principles and Theory, Conkling is an adjunct professor with Washington College, Chestertown, Md., and a past executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.
The video was produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs and takes a close look at the components of fireworks, including time-delay fuses, fuel and bursting charges, and explains how the vibrant colors are generated. Most importantly, Conkling says, “We must remember: Safety first!” That’s especially true this scorching summer, when heat and drought have led to restrictions on use of fireworks in parts of the country.
Conkling says there are good reasons why fireworks have such a universal appeal to people of all ages. For adults, fireworks bring back youthful memories of family holidays. And for kids, they are spectacular displays of light and color on the super-big screen of the night-time sky.