We love to make noise as kids. We also like things that make noise. This is why firecrackers are so much fun. Especially the ones that make the maximum noise.
We all know man discovered fire by accident. But did you know even fireworks were discovered by accident!
The Chinese accidentally discovered that a mixture of sulphur, charcoal and potassium nitrate burnt quickly with a big flash. Excited by this wonderful sight, they filled the mixture into bamboo shoots and threw them into the fire. The green bamboo shoots exploded making a large sound. And thus, fireworks were born.
Blue is the hardest colour to create in a firework
The first fireworks
The first real firecrackers were Chinese Mandarin firecrackers. These red firecrackers were not like the ones we have today. The crackers exploded with a dull sound.
People in China celebrate inventing the firecracker every year on the 18th of April. You can think of it as the Chinese Diwali. According to a Chinese legend, firecrackers could ward off evil spirits as ghosts were afraid of loud noises. China is still the largest manufacturer of fireworks in the world.
Those bright vibrant colours
It was only in the 1800s that chemists discovered how to make coloured firecrackers. They identified certain compounds that when used burned to give reds, greens, blues and purples. Today, with advancements in chemistry, new colours of light can be created.
In the olden days it used to be difficult to produce the colour blue. But with the discovery of magnesium-aluminium alloy - Magnalium, this is no longer a problem. We see rich blue fireworks lighting up the sky. Metal chlorides are responsible for the colours that we see in the sky. Strontium for red, barium for green, copper for blue and sodium for yellow.
Firecrackers are different from explosives. They burn by a burning process called deflagration which is completely different from the one in explosives.