Fireworks Periodic Table of the Elements

Function of Chemical Elements in Fireworks and Pyrotechnics

Fireworks rely on the chemical characteristics of the elements that are used to make them. This special periodic table highlights the elements that have significance to fireworks and pyrotechnics. Click on the element symbol to see what it does.

Periodic Table of the Elements in Fireworks

1
H
                2
He
34
Be
          5
B
67
N
89
F
10
Ne
1112
Mg
          13
Al
14
Si
15161718
Ar
19
K
2021
Sc
2223
V
24
Cr
25
Mn
2627
Co
28
Ni
293031
Ga
32
Ge
33
As
34
Se
35
Br
36
Kr
37
Rb
38
Sr
39
Y
40
Zr
41
Nb
42
Mo
43
Tc
44
Ru
45
Rh
46
Pd
47
Ag
48
Cd
49
In
50
Sn
5152
Te
53
I
54
Xe
55
Cs
56
Ba
57
La
72
Hf
73
Ta
74
W
75
Re
76
Os
77
Ir
78
Pt
79
Au
80
Hg
81
Tl
82
Pb
83
Bi
84
Po
85
At
86
Rn
87
Fr
88
Ra
89
Ac
104
Rf
105
Db
106
Sg
107
Bh
108
Hs
109
Mt
110
Ds
111
Rg
112
Cn
113
113
114
Fl
115
115
116
Lv
117
117
118
118

 

Metals are used in compounds to color fireworks or in pure form so that they will glow when heated. Controlling the temperature of hot metal can produce red, orange, yellow, and white sparks, much like you can control the color of a stove burner by increasing the heat.

Chemical bonds between carbon and hydrogen are typically broken to provide energy (i.e., firework fuel), which relies on oxygen-containing compounds that act as oxidizers. Oxygen is most often found in chlorate, perchlorates, and nitrates.

As you can see, there aren't a whole lot of elements in fireworks! You won't find radioactive metals, nor are the lanthanides or actinides used (which would be the two rows of elements below the body of the periodic table).

Some elements, such as lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and mercury (Hg) used to be relatively common in pyrotechnics, but their compounds are toxic to people and the environment, so they have been phased out of commercial formulations.