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Chemistry LibreTexts

Making Sparklers

Chemical Concepts Demonstrated

  • The energy given off by oxidation-reduction reactions
  • Emission spectra

Demonstration

Ignite the lab-made sparklers containing different mixtures of metal chlorates or nitrates and metals. spark.gif

Observations

Sparkler burns brightly with various colors.

Explanations

Sparklers are formed from a variety of different mixtures of metal chlorates or nitrates and metals such as aluminum, iron, and magnesium. Different metals produce different colors of flame.  The chlorates decompose to chlorides and oxygen; the nitrates decompose to nitrites which, if unstable, decompose to form the corresponding oxide by giving off a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen gas. These gases provide the force that ejects the bits of powdered metals into the air, where they continue to oxidize and give off heat and light.

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