For your Fourth of July fun and fascination! The Chemistry of Fireworks: A new American Chemical Society holiday video

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2010 — From the sizzle of the fuse to the boom and burst of colors –– a new American Chemical Society (ACS) video brings you all of the exciting sights and sounds of Fourth of July fireworks.

The Chemistry of Fireworks, part of the ACS Holiday Video Series, illustrates in brilliant high-definition detail how the familiar rockets and other neat products that light up the night sky all represent chemistry in action. The video, released today, features a demonstration by fireworks expert John A. Conkling, Ph.D., Washington College, Chestertown, Md., author of The Chemistry of Pyrotechnics, Basic Principles and Theory.

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The video, available here, was produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs and takes a close look at the components of fireworks, including time fuses, fuel and bursting charges, and explains how the vibrant colors are generated. Most importantly, Conkling says, “We must remember: Safety first!”

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.


Credit: Kirk Zamieroski, American Chemical Society
(High-resolution version)