HOT DOG ANATOMY/ PYROTECHNICS 101


How amazing is the Fourth of July? Hot dogs? (Yum.) Fireworks? (Yay.) But what's inside our favorite Independence Day stereotypes? Let's delve in.

Maybe we don't really want to know what's inside a wiener... Ok yes we do. There's corn syrup. Lots of salt and preservatives (like mouthwatering-sounding potassium lactate and sodium erythorbate). "Flavoring", whatever that is. And of course, there's meat (i.e., skeletal muscle) - the first ingredient on the package label. But based on the surgical pathology of hot dogs, the average doggie contains less than 10% meat and more than 50% water. In addition to muscle, hot dogs can also contain a variety of other tissues including bone, cartilage, blood vessels, and nerve tissue.

If that just completely grossed you out, maybe the innards of a firework will be a bit more appetizing. A firework casing usually contains explosives - in the form of tiny balls known as "stars" - and a fuse. Each star within the firework contains a specific metal element (which determines the color of the explosion), as well as an oxidizer and a fuel (which drive the explosion itself). The metal strontium produces red light when it burns. Barium generates green light and sodium makes yellow light. Blue is notoriously difficult to produce. If a star is coated in multiple layers of different chemical compositions, it will change color as it burns. Certain chemicals can help create "special effects". Titanium, for example, produces sparkles. Stars are arranged in particular patterns within the firework in order to make certain shapes in the sky. Like "the Saturn" or "the Spiderman". No hot dog-shaped fireworks just yet.

© 2017 by A LADY IN A LAB COAT

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