Chemistry- History of Fireworks

Feb 3rd, 2012
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Brown University
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The birthplace of fireworks is generally recognized as China, with the first explosive mixture found being black powder, during the Sung dynasty ( 960-1279 ). It is said that a cook in ancient china found that a mixture of sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal was very flammable and would explode if enclosed in a small space. The first application of this technology was for entertainment. The Chinese are still the leader in the production of fireworks. Once the recipe for black powder was perfected, they found that it was easily used as rocket fuel, and they made hand carved wooden rockets in the shape of a dragon, in the sixth century. These rockets shot rocket powered arrows from their mouth, and were used against the Mongol invaders of 1279. The principle behind these rockets is still used in rocket powered fireworks today.

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