The Uses of Strontium Nitrate

By Carlos Mano
Strontium nitrate provides the bright red in fireworks.

Strontium nitrate is a white granular chemical with lots of uses. It is quite toxic and an irritant to eyes, skin, and lungs. It explodes into flame when heated or subjected to a shock. Burning it releases lethal gases, so it is a danger to firefighters. It should only be handled by a professional.


Strontium nitrate is most commonly used to provide the bright red color in fireworks. Unlike most salts, strontium nitrate is an oxidizer, so it helps chemicals of all colors to burn. It is also a principal component of highway flares and underwater flares.

Chemical Precursor

Strontium nitrate is a precursor to several important chemicals. It is a primary component (along with sulfuric acid) of strontium sulfide, used in such diverse products as depilatories and luminous paints.


Strontium nitrate is a precursor for the production of high-purity compounds. This has long been of importance for optical quality chemicals. More recently, this high-quality purity has found application in the production of nanotechnology powders and suspensions.