Having grown up with a dog, there is absolutely nothing on this or any known planet that I detest more than fireworks. That said, my determination to maintain my residence on American soil means that I’ll have to at least put up with—and even pretend to be wholly on board with, in certain company—the great menace that is pyrotechnics once a year on July 4. However, even a defiant bottle rocket detractor like me can find merit in how Cody’s Lab has put fireworks to use. Instead of grand displays in the night’s skies that send poor West Highland Terriers zooming beneath the bed to stave off anxiety attacks, these hometown explosives are being primed for a much more economical use: the derivation of silver.
As Cody’s Lab tells us, each of the bang snaps in his video contains about 80 micrograms of fulminate silver, which can be extracted by provoking combustion—he tries punching, stomping on, and even lasering a bucket of 5,000 poppers—then soaking the remains in distilled water and nitric acid, and melting the resultant liquid solution down. That’s a pretty concise explanation of the process, so you’ll have to watch the above video for a more detailed illustration of how to mine your leftover fireworks for some shimmering silver beads.
Even for those of us who’ll never quite look at an active or dormant firework without a scowl, this is a pretty cool and remarkably simple experiment that’s easy to get behind. In fact, if more people reserved their fireworks for silver extraction than for detonation, the world would be a much better, dog-friendlier place.
Featured Image: YouTube/Cody’s Lab