Welcoming 2012: The Chemistry of Fireworks

Welcoming 2012: The Chemistry of Fireworks

Joy of Science

New Year and fireworks.  Pop! Bang! Whooo! Boom! We love them. These are the sounds of celebration.  Although the basic recipe and techniques used in preparing the black powder (gun powder) in modern-day fireworks is the same as it was 500 years ago, advances in chemistry have allowed us to create spectacular displays we enjoy today.  Join our speaker, Chris Mocella as he describes the delicate chemistry that brings loud sounds and brilliant colorful images to welcome your new year. Just don’t try this at home!



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Download Slides!

“Welcoming 2012: The Chemistry of Fireworks” A short presentation followed by Q&A with speaker Dr. Chris Mocella, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laboratories.


What You Will Learn

  • The basic “re-dox” principles in pyrotechnic reactions
  • Chemical ingredients in fireworks
  • Putting fireworks together and igniting them
  • Special effects: color generation and “stars”
  • And much more…


Webinar Details

Date: Thursday, December 8, 2011

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Fee: Free



Meet Your Experts

Chris Mocella began working with Dr. John Conkling as an undergraduate research associate while pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, with a focus on energetic materials and pyrotechnics. Chris continued working with the Summer Pyrotechnic Seminar series while attending the University of Virginia for graduate school in organometallic chemistry.  He is now a tenured chemist with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laboratories. Most recently, Chris was co-author on the second addition of Dr. Conkling’s The Chemistry of Pyrotechnics book.


Prof. Maynard is a leading authority on the responsible development and use of emerging technologies. His research interests span identifying, assessing and managing emergent risks, to exploring innovative solutions to established and emerging human health and environmental risks, to equipping people with the tools they need to make informed decisions in the face of risk and uncertainty.  Prof. Maynard is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Challenges of Emerging Technologies, serves on numerous review and advisory panels around the world, and has testified on a number of occasions before U.S. Congressional committees. He appears frequently in print and on television and radio, and writes regularly on science and society at http://2020science.org/


Enjoy some Pyrotechnics Science from ACS:


Bytesize Science Presents: The Chemistry of Fireworks from ACS Pressroom on Vimeo.


The Fine Print

ACS Webinars™ does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.



28 Responses to “Welcoming 2012: The Chemistry of Fireworks”

  1. Joel Baechle says:

    If I read your publicity correctly, this webinar will be presented at 11:00 A.M., PST, on Thursday, December 8th, 2011. Would this not be a time when many interested people would be at work? I know Dr. Conkling personally, and have a copy of the 2nd edition of the book, so I would be interested in seeing how it will be presented online, however, that would seem to be rather awkward. I certainly hope it goes well and is as factual as possible.

  2. Laurence Marantz says:

    I registered for “Welcoming 2012: The Chemistry of Fireworks”. I then managed to erase your reply email with the code and all the instructions. Can you please resend this information?

  3. admin says:

    Dear Joel – Thanks for you concern about showing ACS Webinars during work hours (2PM – EST), but no worries. Our attendance rating has shown this to be a good time for registrants. Also for those who miss or would like to watch the webinar again, we provide the recording and slides on our website at http://acswebinars.org. I too, am looking forward to the talk on Fireworks with Chris Mocella ( Dr. John Conkling’s protege) on December 8. — ACS Webinars

  4. admin says:

    No worries, you will receive another email one day before and a couple of hours before the webinar with the access code and information. The email will come from gotomeeting@citrixonline.com. Hope this helps. — ACS Webinars

  5. Carol Ochsner says:

    I am a Chemistry teacher and would like to show this to my Advanced group (they are in class from approximately 9am-10am). Do I need to sign up for the webinar to view it later on the website?

  6. Brooke says:

    I am looking to download the slides from the webinar and cannot find them. Can you guide me to where I could download these please?

  7. Gary says:

    Where and when will the link to the slide show and the recording of this Webinar be posted? I loved it and wold like very much to keep a copy of it for myself to refer to over time.

  8. ray ottenbrite says:

    How can i save video for future viewing

  9. Darrell says:

    I found the session very worth while. There was just enough tech info mixed with just enough pyro info. Chris’s advice to check out local clubs for more complete info was bang on and a google search for PGI and/or WPA both relateing to “Fireworks” will give a start for more info on pyro and other clubs. Good presentation, good time 12:00-13:00 MST, price was right, glad I registered.

  10. Susan Sutheimer says:

    Great presentation. Great Chemistry. It would be great also to have the presentation slides available before my 9 AM class tomorrow…the last day of classes.

  11. Jessica says:

    I registered for the webinar and was not able to make it. however I am interested in still seeing it. the slides do not seem to be posted yet, can you tell me when they will be available


    Very much enjoyed the webinar. w/r to the formulation given for black powder (75/15/10): Laviosier is credited with assisting the French Revolution because of improvements he made to gun powder. It allowed French shots to travel further then those of the opposition. Was the given formulation developed, or in anyway modified, by Laviosier?

  13. Drpyro says:

    Good job! Very well done. Sorry you were not able to give out the names of fireworks clubs. The smart one’s will Google them and find a local club to join. Again, thanks for taking the time to do the web seminar.

  14. admin says:

    Dear Carol – No you do not need to signup again. Go to our website at http://acswebinars.org/mocella and view the recording from there. — ACS Webinars

  15. admin says:

    Dear Brooke — The slides will be downloaded within a week of the live presentation at http://acswebinars.org/mocella. -ACS Webinars

  16. admin says:

    Dear Gary — The slides will be downloaded within a week of the live presentation at http://acswebinars.org/mocella. -ACS Webinars

  17. admin says:

    Dear Phillip – We are located under Linked In Groups — ACS Webinars.

  18. admin says:

    Dear Ray – The recording of the webinar is posted on our site at http://acswebinars.org/mocella and on You Tube. -ACS Webinars

  19. admin says:

    Dear Susan — the recording and slides are posted within one week of the live presentation. Hope your class can view then.–ACS Webinars.

  20. Gary says:

    will there be a downloadable version of the seminar as well or is the YouTube version the only version we will have access to?

  21. admin says:

    Dear Gary — Within one week after the live presentation, the recording and slides are posted onto our website at http://acswebinars.org/chemistry-and-the-economy. Enjoy! — ACS Webinars

  22. Susan Smith says:

    I have signed up for the Champagne seminar, but did not sign up for the Fireworks seminar. However, I am grateful to find it posted, but cannot download the slides. Is there a way for me to download the Fireworks slides?


  23. admin says:

    Dear Susan, the video and slides from the fireworks webinar are posted at http://acswebinars.org/mocella. Enjoy. — ACS Webinars

  24. John Van Kesteren says:

    Great presentation!

  25. dan says:

    i like the video

  26. dan says:

    i would like to use the chemicals in class and test the subject of chemistry

  27. John miller says:

    pretty nice article. i liked the videos.

  28. admin says:

    Thanks John. Catch more firework chemistry on our ACS Webinet YouTube Page at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL858D7F6122259E1A

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