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If you’re wondering why fireworks are so loud, you’re not alone. Fireworks are noisy because they use gunpowder, which burns in a high-pressure atmosphere and releases a blast wave. When this wave hits your ears, it creates vibrations that can permanently damage your inner ear’s hair cells. Depending on their volume, fireworks can range from 150 to 175 decibels at close range.
Science behind fireworks
Fireworks are made when a chemical reaction occurs between an element and oxygen. The resulting flame causes the electrons in the element to become excited. These electrons are then released, causing the element to burn. Depending on the type of firework, different colors are released. These colors are produced by the different elements in the mixture.
The chemistry behind fireworks has been evolving throughout history. The oldest known use of chemical compounds to create fireworks dates back thousands of years ago.
Atmospheric conditions affect sound pressure
The sound pressure produced by fireworks is influenced by the atmosphere in two ways. First, the density of the medium changes with temperature. This affects the speed of sound. Second, when the medium is a gas, the density of the gas also changes. The resulting pressure disturbance travels through the medium as a longitudinal wave with the same frequency as the string.
During fireworks display, the heated particles and gases inside the fireworks react with the air molecules in the sky, causing a blast wave. When this blast wave occurs, the compressed air particles move at a faster speed than sound, creating a loud bang. The loudness of the sound is a measure of its power. The sound wave’s power is proportional to the square of the pressure.
Chemical composition of fireworks
The sound of fireworks is the result of the chemical reactions inside them. These reactions produce a blast wave and build up gases. When the blast wave reaches the ground, air particles accelerate at speeds faster than sound, creating a loud bang. Loudness is measured in decibels, with power proportional to pressure squared. Whether fireworks are loud is often influenced by weather conditions, but it is generally the chemical composition of the fireworks that causes this characteristic sound.
Fireworks get their colour and sound by combining metal salts and oxidisers. The strongest red, for example, comes from strontium carbonate. Other colors, such as blue, are produced by combining different metals. However, a blue flame is difficult to create, as high temperatures can destroy its light.
Effects on birds
Birds are known to react to fireworks in several ways. They may be startled by the loud noises, and may fly away. The loud noises also make them disorientated. They may also take off en masse and remain in the air for longer than normal. Some birds take off in such large numbers that they can be detected on weather radar. This extreme flight may deplete their energy reserves.
Fireworks can also kill birds through other means. When birds roost in the same area, they can collide with each other, or crash into stationary objects. Moreover, the smoke from fireworks contains sulfur-coal compounds, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals. These chemicals are dangerous to birds, and they also affect the environment.
Effects on dogs
Fireworks can be dangerous to dogs because they can ingest them. This could result in gastrointestinal problems, including bloody vomiting. It could also lead to secondary infections. Fireworks can also disrupt the red blood cells. When dogs have this problem, they may be lethargic, have brown gums, and their heart rate may rise rapidly.
Fireworks can also cause high blood pressure in dogs. Dogs may also snap or defecate unexpectedly. This behavior could be a sign that the dog is frightened or stressed.
Ways to reduce risk of hearing loss
It’s important to protect your ears while watching fireworks. Using earplugs or over-the-ear headphones can help minimize the damage. However, these protective devices need to be worn for the duration of the fireworks display. Child ear defenders are also an excellent way to protect the ears of young children. If you’re not able to wear ear plugs or headphones, you can cover your ears with your fingers. Otherwise, you can try to find noiseless fireworks.
In addition to the ear-damaging effects of fireworks, the loud noise can also damage your hearing in the long term. Fireworks can damage your eardrum and the critical bones in the middle ear, causing hearing loss. This damage may not be noticeable immediately, but over time, it can make it difficult to hear conversations and watch TV.