Chemistry in Action - Flame Colors

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Have you ever wondered where all the pretty colors in fireworks come from? Personally, I have as both watching and launching fireworks is a blast! From a chemical standpoint, the reason fireworks explode into colors is the result of an exothermic reaction that fuels the electronic excitation of metal salts. Specifically, when the gunpowder blows, it excites metal atoms and then they relax and the energy changes are specific to the metal atom resulting in particular colors coming out. These colors are characteristic of the atom and they give rise to the pretty colors in fireworks. In today's free Chemistry video, Professor Gordon Yee demonstrates this principle by exploding balloons with different metal salts in them. It's a pretty spectacular experiment and if you watch closely, you'll learn exactly what metal salts produce what colors.


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This page contains a single entry by April Stockwell published on November 5, 2010 1:05 PM.

Chemistry in Action - The Electric Pickle was the previous entry in this blog.

Chemistry in Action - Slime is the next entry in this blog.

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