Colored fire

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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.


Flame Colorants

ColorChemical
Carmine (Dark Red)Lithium chloride
RedStrontium chloride
OrangeCalcium chloride (a bleaching powder)
YellowSodium chloride (table salt) or Sodium carbonate
Yellowish GreenBorax (Sodium Borate)
GreenCopper sulfate
BlueCopper(I) chloride
Violet3 parts Potassium sulfate, 1 part Potassium nitrate (saltpeter)
PurplePotassium chloride
WhiteMagnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)

Campfire Colorants

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.

See also

External links

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