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How Sparklers Are Made

January 29, 2018

Of all the different types of fireworks, sparklers are probably the most popular, and with good reason. They appeal to all ages and even children can hold them and enjoy their glittery fun as long as an adult is close by. Did you know that sparklers are the only legal fireworks in San Antonio city limits? But what gives them their sparkle power? We thought you’d be interested to know how sparklers are made, so here’s the scoop.

Sparklers are HOT!

Most people don’t realize it, but the sparks from a sparkler are around 18000 F but can be as hot as 30000 F depending on the type it is. That is super hot but when a spark hits your skin it doesn't burn you (although if not used safely it can cause damage). How can that be?

The key is not in the temperature of the spark, but in its thermal energy. The power of thermal energy is dependent upon the mass of the object, its temperature, and the materials used in its construction. Because the sparks are so low in mass, they have very low thermal energy. This means that they don’t have the mass and energy behind them to do much harm to your skin. To put it into perspective, tin foil has this same property. That is why you can pull it straight out of a hot oven with your bare hands and it doesn't burn you.

What sparklers are made of.

There are three primary chemical components:

A binder

Dextrin

An oxidizer

Potassium Nitrate
Perchlorates or Chlorates
Metal Nitrates

A metal fuel

Titanium for a white or silver glow
Magnesium and Aluminum for a white or light-yellow glow
Ferrotitanium for a golden glow

Different types of sparklers may have other elements that will alter various effects such as the number of sparks or color changes. However, the three basic building blocks remain the same in all sparklers.

How are sparklers made?

Since sparklers are a hand-held firework, they are constructed in a way that allows them to be held safely. The sparkler is essentially a metal wire with one clear end for holding and the other end containing the components to create the famous sparks. Typically, a metal wire made of iron is used to create the foundation of the sparkler.

The other end is coated with a mixture of the main components, binder, oxidizer, and metal fuel. The process us largely automated which differs from many other types of fireworks. The machine first cuts the wires into the specified length for that particular type of sparkler.

The wires then are moved to another area of the machine where the wire end “sparkle sections” are coated with the chemical components. The chemical mixture is like a paste, so it must set after the first application. It is then dipped a second time to ensure the sparkler is adequately coated and will have the desired effect. In other words, it won’t be a dud.

It can take as long as a week for the sparklers to completely dry. This can’t be rushed. It must dry fully in order to achieve the highest quality. Once they are inspected and deemed ready to go, they are packed and shipped to the firework company or retailer – where you come along, buy a pack, and have some real sparkle fun!

Whether you are looking for sparklers, ground fireworks, missile fireworks, or wholesale fireworks, we have them – and more. With locations in and around San Antonio with locations in other states opening soon, you can visit any of our retail facilities or visit the Alamo Fireworks website to view our catalog. Of course, you can always reach out for wholesale information or any questions you have. We’d love to hear from you.