For Independence Day this year, we wanted to share with everyone the Anatomy of a Firework! There are three basic parts to every firework.

  1. Launch Tube: The launch tube is a tall tube the same width as the firework but 3x longer.
  2. Charge: The charge is the actual firework. It is made of cardboard compartments, black powder, stars, and a time delay fuse.
  3. Stars: Stars are the best part! The stars are unique balls made of different chemicals that will explode and create the colors we see.

Did you know fireworks actually explode multiple times? The first explosion is the black powder that sends the charge out of the launch tube and into the air. Then a time delay fuse continues to burn until it reaches the stars. When the fuse reaches the star it explodes and then keeps travelling until the next star and explodes again!

There is a lot of chemistry in fireworks too! Not only do firework makers work with black powder, they also have to make the stars by hand – and very carefully too! The coolest part is the color. Firework makers use different ingredients to make the colors that light up the sky. For instance, strontium nitrate or carbonates make red, magnesium or aluminum make white, and copper salt makes blue.

Try this at home:

Want to make your own firework at home? All you need is a straw, paper, scissors, tape, and ribbon or pipe cleaners.

  1. Cut a piece of paper 2 inches wide and just long enough to wrap loosely around the straw and tape.
  2. Then tape the top of the paper together to catch the air.
  3. Cut pieces of ribbon or pipe cleaner and curl. Then tape to the outside of the paper.
  4. Put the decorated paper tube on the straw and blow! Your firework will launch into the air and you don’t even have to wait until dark!