Chemistry of a Sparkler

  • DOI: 10.1002/chemv.201700096
  • Author: ChemViews Magazine
  • Published Date: 05 December 2017
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
thumbnail image: Chemistry of a Sparkler

Sparklers are hand-held fireworks that burn slowly while emitting sparks.


Typical redox-reactions taking place during ignation include:

10 Al + 3 Ba (NO3)2 → 3 BaO + 3 N2 + 5 Al2O3
15 Fe + 4 Ba (NO3)2 → 4 BaO + 4 N2 + 5 Fe3O4

3 Fe (s) + 2 O2 (g) → Fe3O4 (s)


You should not burn a sparkler indoors because part of the nitrate nitrogen is not completely reduced to the oxidation stage zero, but released as nitrogen dioxide:

2 Al + 3 Ba (NO3)2 → 3 BaO + 6 NO2 (g) + Al2O3

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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH