Colored fire is a common pyrotechnic effect used in stage productions, fireworks and by fire performers the world over. Generally, the color of a flame may be red, orange, yellow, or white, and is dominated by blackbody radiation from soot and steam. When additional chemicals are added to the fuel burning, their atomic emission spectra can affect the frequencies of visible light radiation emitted - in other words, the flame will appear a different color dependent upon the chemical additives.
Pyrotechnicians will generally use metal salts to color their flames. Specific combinations of fuels and co-solvents are required in order to dissolve the necessary chemicals. Color enhancers are frequently added too, the most common of which is polyvinyl chloride.
|Carmine (Dark Red)||Lithium chloride|
|Orange||Calcium chloride (a bleaching powder)|
|Yellow||Sodium chloride (table salt) or Sodium carbonate|
|Yellowish Green||Borax (Sodium Borate)|
|Violet||3 parts Potassium sulfate, 1 part Potassium nitrate (saltpeter)|
|White||Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)|
Flame colorants are becoming popular while camping. Scouts and other outdoor enthusiasts have placed sections of copper pipe with holes drilled throughout and stuffed with garden hose onto campfires to create a variety of flame colors. An easier and more accepted method of coloring campfires has been fueled by commercial products. These packages of flame colorants are tossed onto a campfire or into a fireplace to produce effects.