Science Goes Kaboom!

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Happy July Fourth to those who celebrate!

Across the United States, crowds will be grilling, parading, and setting off fireworks this week to mark the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. That’s 248 years of becoming the country we live in today. And about 247 years of celebrating this country with fireworks.

Fireworks were actually invented long before the United States of America was born. It’s believed that the earliest fireworks were developed in China around the year 800. A little later, people figured out how to use chemical reactions to create different colors. And today, well, pyrotechnics can be very impressive!

No matter the size of your fireworks, they’re made possible by science. The foundation of every firework is black powder—a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur. Pieces of metal salts get distributed into the powder in certain patterns and the whole thing is packed into a shell with a fuse. Experts light the fuse and watch the package zoom into the air until it reaches the right altitude, and then BOOM! It explodes into the colors and shapes you see against the night sky.

In recent years, drone and laser displays have become more popular as people try to celebrate more safely and without polluting the environment. And those, too, require science! That’s a lot of engineering, coding, and STEM knowledge needed to create those displays.

So, this week, when you ooohhh and aahhhh at the bright lights in the sky, remember—it’s all are made possible by science!

Andi Diehn
Content Marketing Manager

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