Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Fireworks Blues

PostedJuly 3, 2011

Download File (mp3)


Randy Atkins: Bursts of blue fireworks just don’t have the same brightness or intensity of other colors, says Washington College chemistry professor John Conkling.

John Conkling: In order to get a bright color up in the sky you need high temperature, and the chemicals that emit blue light are not stable at high temperatures.

Randy Atkins: Chemists have been trying to engineer a solution for years…but Conkling says, so far, no luck.

John Conkling: Countries do have red, white, and green as their national colors. They’re very fortunate. We chose red, white, and blue so it’s harder here in the U.S. to get our national colors up there in the sky on the 4th of July.

Randy Atkins: With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.