Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Making fire (youtube collaborative video)

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NurdRage - 26-1-2011 at 20:33

What are some ways to make fire with chemistry?

There are classics like potassium permanganate + glycerine and zinc + HCl + ammonium nitrate.

Any others out there?

They don't have be limited to household items, i also want to show lab chemical approaches too.

hkparker, mrhomescientist and I are putting together a collaborative video to show various ways to make fire. So i'm trying to compile as many possible methods as we can find.

(We're also open to anyone that wants to join in the collaboration)

kuro96inlaila - 26-1-2011 at 22:03

how about chloric acid (from KClO3+H2SO4) and sugar or other organic material like ethanol and acetone?

Quite dangerous though:P

UnintentionalChaos - 26-1-2011 at 22:20

Mixing a large amount of MEKP catalyst with pre-warmed styrene-polyester resin should be able to get the fumes above it to exceed the autoignition temperature. I've never done it myself, but I imagine it would work. Good demo of how bond-forming is exothermic. I imagine that a decent amount of ethyl cyanoacrylate could auto-ignite if a bit of catalyst is added to start the polymerization.

Also related, heat white paraffin wax in a test tube until it boils and plunge the bottom of it into ice water. The freezing of the liquid is a strong enough exotherm to ignite the gasses in the upper portion of the tube, spewing a mushroom cloud-like plume of fire (and wax spray) from the open end. The tube invariably breaks. Using an erlenmeyer with significantly more wax leads to a jet of fire. I suspect there is still black soot on my high school chemistry room's ceiling from that.

You can use autoignition of white phosphorous in air to initiate a barking dog reaction, I believe.

Fusion of SiO2 with Mg, grinding, and dumping into acid should give lots of loud crackling little explosions due to pyrophoric silane. I'd like to see this sort of fireball replicated if possible: http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2005-10/making-silicon-san...

Aluminum in bromine is quite spectacular: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCwHzTsx5yY

Sedit - 26-1-2011 at 22:55

Perform a hydrogen generation reaction with Aluminum and either NaOH or HCl. You could also use NaCl and Copper sulfate + Al just to make it seem more exotic if you want but the nice jet like flame would be cool to see... esp if you used a chemical that would color the flame nicely.

ScienceSquirrel - 27-1-2011 at 04:06

Aluminium and iodine plus a few drops of water;

http://www.practicalchemistry.org/experiments/reaction-betwe...

barbs09 - 27-1-2011 at 04:09

Mix sodium peroxide + sugar and add drop of water to get going

ScienceSquirrel - 27-1-2011 at 05:06

Reaction of acetylene and chlorine;

http://www.practicalchemistry.org/experiments/enhancement/sp...

There are quite a few spectacular experiments here;

http://www.practicalchemistry.org/experiments/enhancement/ca...



[Edited on 27-1-2011 by ScienceSquirrel]

smuv - 27-1-2011 at 14:15

Ethanol/Methanol + CrO3 (works better on powder than the commercial pellet form). Its actually a pretty gentle way to start a fire (way more tame than glycerol KMnO4).

ScienceSquirrel - 27-1-2011 at 14:38

Can I also suggest;

1) Warm, dry sawdust and pure nitric acid. The acid made by distilling sodium nitrate and drain cleaner might do.

2) Sugar and pure nitric acid. Once used as a time fuse in a lead tube with a copper diaphragm separating the reagents.

3) A cotton wool ball dabbed in sodium peroxide powder and then add one drop of water to the peroxide coating.

garage chemist - 27-1-2011 at 15:47

Mix powdered NaClO3 or KClO3 with sugar, and touch the mixture with a glass rod previously dipped into conc. H2SO4.
When the reactants are finely powdered and well mixed, there is no delay in ignition.

Nitromethane poured upon finely crushed NaOH also erupts into flames.

A true "fire magic trick" is to add a tiny piece of potassium to about 50ml of ether, and pour this into a large bowl of water. The potassium bursts into fire upon hitting water, and ignites the ether. Instant huge fire by pouring one clear liquid into another!

Red fuming nitric acid + triethylamine was an early hypergolic rocket fuel. With hydrazine, it's even better. I may try that myself one day, when I manage to dewater some of my hydrazine monohydrate.

Other than that, read the chapters about hypergolic rocket propellants in the book "Ignition!", available for download in the Sciencemadness library. Many hypergolic combinations are listed there.

mewrox99 - 28-1-2011 at 23:07

I am very interested in joining this video project.

I'm at the moment currently investigating some more ideas

mewrox99 - 28-1-2011 at 23:13

H2O2 + Conc. H2SO4 + organics is a great way to make a fire/explosion (and to kill your self if u don't know what your doing)

Another way to make a fire is to mix a solution of a Fe(II) salt with an oxalate salt and collect a precipitate of Iron(II) Oxalate. Heating your newly formed Iron(II) oxalate in the absence of oxygen will yield pyrophoric Iron(II) Oxide.

EDIT: Another way, this can be quite dangerous so take extreme caution if attempting.

Put some Mg turnings in HCl acid and pour solid KOH. The heat of the reaction ignites the magnesium.

Yet another way I thought of (I have no idea about this reaction but I would imagine it would be super exothermic)

CH3Cl + Na --> NaCl + CH3.
CH3. + CH3. + C2H6

EDIT AGAIN: Calcium Hypochlorite and Sulfur is known to ignite spontaneously.

Calcium Hypochlorite + Acetone could probably cause a fire. Even when they're mixed in a slow and controlled manner in the haloform reaction things heat up alot

[Edited on 29-1-2011 by mewrox99]

[Edited on 29-1-2011 by mewrox99]

madscientist - 29-1-2011 at 00:42

KMnO<sub>4</sub> + NaBr + H<sub>2</sub>SO<sub>4</sub> is spectacular. Fiery red sparks and a roaring volcano of bromine!

mewrox99 - 29-1-2011 at 04:34

Conc Sulfuric Acid + 70% Hydrogen Peroxide + Aniline :o

The WiZard is In - 29-1-2011 at 07:43

Quote: Originally posted by NurdRage  
What are some ways to make fire with chemistry?


Matches work for me.

How 'bout the classic zink, ammonium nitrate, ammonium chloride— water reaction.

Borrowed from :

Summerlin and Ealy, Jr.
Chemical Demonstrations for Teachers
1st ed ACS 1985

>>>The entire Smoke, Fire, and Explosions chapter has
gone missing in the 2nd edition.<<<



Ammonium nitrate and ammonium chloride 4:1 ratio.
Sprinkle on zink dust.
Add three drops of water.
Stand back

Cl- (from NH4Cl) acts as a catalyst on the decomposition of NH4NO3:

NH4NO3(s) [Cl-] -> N2O(g) + 2H2O(aq)

Water produced in the reaction causes the decomposition of more
NH4HO3 (autocatalytic effect).

The reaction melts the NH4NO3 and allows the oxidation of the zink. The overall reaction is probably as follows:

Zn(s) + NH3NO3(s) -> N2(g) + ZnO(s) + 2H2O(g)

3. This reaction produces a dense cloud of white ZnO(s). You
can add a few xtls of iodine to produce purple smoke. This
reaction must be done in a hood or a well-ventilated area.

Formatik - 29-1-2011 at 08:35

A few drops of dimethyl sulfoxide dripped onto a small pile of sodium dichloroisocyanurate catches fire right away and a sustaining fire forms. The gases from the mixture smell horrible. When a chlorine oxidizer and organic come into contact so, there is the possibility of forming toxic organochlorine compounds, even including phosgene. Don't inhale and do it outside. The sodium salt should be ground. The DMSO can have 10% H2O in it, I've done the reaction with this and pure sulfoxide and the result was the same.

Chromyl chloride dripped into methanol (or ethanol) will cause ignition. It apparently ignites other things as well, but I couldn't do it except for with turpentine (kind of) because of the small amounts used. I've described those reactions, and permanganate with sulfoxide (probably gives less toxic smoke), and some others in my hypergolics thread.

KBrO3 with sugar ignited by conc. H2SO4 burns more brilliantly than KClO3, because it gives a brighter white-blue almost flash. I've shown a comparison here. Technically, bromate and sugar are shock-sensitive detonable mixtures (like chlorate and sugar), so grind separately. Note that just mixing conc. H2SO4 with a chlorate is very dangerous, and explosions have occurred. Use only dropwise amounts of acid needed to ignite the sugar mixture. So avoid dumping excess acid in, since this might liberate too much ClO2 and thus cause explosion.

Nitrosyl perchlorate is very reactive also, but maybe too dangerous for simple fire starting. In the impure state with varying levels of hydration and acid content, it may be less predictable.

I recently made some dimethyl sulfide after almost gassing myself. No one has described reactivity of this anywhere. I could put some of that on permanganate dust and see if it does anything.

mewrox99 - 29-1-2011 at 16:40

I would imagine that DMS would be fairly reactive to strong oxidizers.

Here are some you should try KMnO4, Ca(OCl)2, Sodium dichloroisocyanorate

As always make sure you do it outside and for the first time use only minuscule amounts to avoid any unexpected surprises

K permanganate & ...

The WiZard is In - 29-1-2011 at 18:03

Dr. Ellern in his first book (bet you didn't know there are two!).
Modern Pyrotechnics, 1961. Notes that potassium permanganate
will react not only with glycerin, but also with:

ethylene glycol
erythritol
mannitol
methyglycol
monochlorohydrine
triethanolamine
acetaldehyde
benzaldehyde

Original reference:
H. Rathsburg and H Gawlick. Chem Ztg., 65, 426-7, (1941).


djh
----
The Chymists are a strange Class of Mortals, impelled
by an incomprehensible Impulse to take their Pleasure
amid Smoke and Vapour, Fume and Flame, Poison and
Poverty - Yet among all these Evils, I seem to live so
sweetly that may I die if I would change places with the
Persian King!

Johann Beccher
Physica Subterranea, 1703


starch - 29-1-2011 at 18:56

Quote: Originally posted by garage chemist  
Mix powdered

Nitromethane poured upon finely crushed NaOH also erupts into flames.



i was going to mention this one, ya beat me to it :)

oohhh baby it erupts

mewrox99 - 29-1-2011 at 19:03

Hot Copper + Acetylaldehyde

hkparker - 29-1-2011 at 22:57

Great ideas

Ive reacted chromyl chloride with sulfur and its very vigorous, ill try it with ethanol. I have mixed calcium hypochlorite and acetone and it doesnt react unless there is water in it to dissolve the ClO-, at least the reaction isnt visible. I think Ca(ClO)2 will react with many things to start a fire, sulfur sounds worth a try. I think it would be great if you got involved Mewrox99.

aonomus - 30-1-2011 at 01:02

Generation of silane gas by magnesium silicide in acid would be an interesting way to generate fire.

Another very risky one to try is reverse addition of piranah solution into a solvent. Usually piranah oxidizes a few stray drops of solvent like acetone causing explosion, though a reverse addition may trigger rapid heating and potential ignition without explosion (in theory, be careful!)

While not generating fire spontaneously, a demonstration with LOX + fuel would be interesting (though it should be noted to be highly cautious and aware of the potential to accidentally form mixtures of fuel + LOX that could be triggered uncontrollably).

Video clips of various pyrophoric reagents (neat of course) would be fun. Alkyl bromide + lithium metal should do the trick, then evaporate solvent via nitrogen bubbling.

Also, condolences to the family of the UCLA chemist who perished due to inexperience with t-BuLi.

mewrox99 - 30-1-2011 at 01:28

@hkparker

I'll try to get involved, but I'm a tad short of both chems and money atm (chemicals are disgustingly expensive in NZ like 2kg of Ca(OCl)2 from supermarket is like $60 NZD (~40 USD) :o:o)

hkparker - 30-1-2011 at 01:35

Ah but you were quite successful at turning a potato chip into quite a fire storm :D

But seriously, that sucks, I'm sorry. NZ just doesn't seems like its friendly to chemistry in any way! Hopefully you've been able to cut costs on some things by making them. When the final list is prepared of what your doing just see if there's anything you can help with.

ldanielrosa - 30-1-2011 at 02:32

Two slower examples: neglected rags of linseed oil, and carelessly mixed rags of chromic acid and acetone.

mewrox99 - 30-1-2011 at 02:42

Hey Nurdrage

Can my potato chip getting annihilated by Mn2O7 be in the collaborative video effort?

NurdRage - 30-1-2011 at 08:05

i'm sure it can be incorporated in somehow.

Formatik - 30-1-2011 at 08:53

Quote: Originally posted by mewrox99  
I would imagine that DMS would be fairly reactive to strong oxidizers.

Here are some you should try KMnO4, Ca(OCl)2, Sodium dichloroisocyanorate


Though my dimethyl sulfide may have been impure, its reactions are much milder than sulfoxide.

Few drops of the DMS put onto KMnO4 dust just sizzled weakly, no ignition or even visible gas release. The mixture did spray slightly.

Then the DMS dripped onto powdered sodium dichloroisocyanurate caused it to sizzle and gave off white smoke (mixing chlorinating agents and organic sulfides may be a bad idea!), but again no ignition. Conc. perchloric acid dripped in just gave off slight fumes and turned light beige.

This material was far too odorous to work with, and the unknown impurity made it much worse and was also extremely poisonous. It's the reason I could not get a good density reading, because I could not bring it in to get a closer look.

I'm done with stinky sulfur compounds. Done.

Quote:
As always make sure you do it outside and for the first time use only minuscule amounts to avoid any unexpected surprises


That's always the sensible thing to do. Even some of these mixtures in the small scale which don't react too vigorously in small amounts, can cause dangerous explosion in the larger scale. An example is adding KMnO4 to dimethylformamide to form a 20% solution, which has been mentioned to give an explosion after 5 minutes. Mixing 1g KMnO4 to 5g DMF after some 2 to 5 minutes causes exotherm under gas release, crackling and spraying the permanganate in all directions.

mr.crow - 30-1-2011 at 10:50

I REALLY want to see burning ether, everyone says how flammable it is but I have never seen it.

How about various organometallic compounds reacting with air? Basically doing things with them you aren't supposed to. Maybe grignard reagents can do this.

Pyrophoric lead and iron.

White phosphorus reacting with air.

Hypergolic reactions with N2O4. PeriodicVideos has some good ones of these

ScienceSquirrel - 30-1-2011 at 11:09

Burning ether is not that exciting.
It is widely available as an easy start material for internal combustion engines in aerosol cans.
Just spray a little in a tin lid and ignite it with a splint.
It will ignite easily and burn very quickly.
The vapour is a lot heavier than air and will fill containers. The vapour can be easily ignited with a splint on a stick.
Small amounts of ether can be put in a balloon and the balloon inflated. Shaking the balloon will fill it with an ether / air mixture and it can be ignited with a string fuse.
Butyl lithium catches fire in air and triethyl aluminium burns quite readily. Triethyl borane is flammable and burns with a bright green flame.

The WiZard is In - 30-1-2011 at 11:15

Quote: Originally posted by mr.crow  
I REALLY want to see burning ether, everyone says how flammable it is but I have never seen it.


Assuming you intend ethyl/sulphuric ether. It burns w/ a colourless
flame like ethyl alcohol. You can put some in the snow and
light it - an interesting effect.

Its flammability is a problem second only to its flash point -45oC
and heaver then air vapour. It processes a tendency to form
explosive peroxides. Storing it in the original tin lined container is
a good idea, however, they are hard to re-cork!



djh
---
I remember back in the
year one... had my tonsils
out. Nurse puts on mask...

It smells terrible.

Blow it away .. sez she. I have
never forgiven her.



[Edited on 30-1-2011 by The WiZard is In]

kuro96inlaila - 31-1-2011 at 05:18

Since most of youtube chemist are in this project,then count me in.

When I play with potassium metal,if I handle it too long with tissue i find it will react with tissue and then spontaneously ignited.

EVIL POTASSIUM!;)

mewrox99 - 31-1-2011 at 05:29

Buy tissue, you mean tissue paper right? Not skin?

kuro96inlaila - 31-1-2011 at 05:43

Absolutely,
but honestly,i've slightly burned my finger's skin at the time I don't know it will react like that with tissue paper.:(

Now I'm more carefull when handling them.:)

[Edited on 31-1-2011 by kuro96inlaila]

hkparker - 31-1-2011 at 19:01

Yes please be careful :)

Back to ideas. White phosphorus could be produced by micro distillation of red P in a glass tube. Once this is exposed to air it will ignight. The problem I have with this is that it would require a torch to prepare the white P, and if you have a torch well... that kinda defeats the point. Still an idea though...

Formatik - 1-2-2011 at 15:45


Quote: Originally posted by garage chemist  
Other than that, read the chapters about hypergolic rocket propellants in the book "Ignition!", available for download in the Sciencemadness library. Many hypergolic combinations are listed there.


That reminds me. The 4th volume of Urbanski also covers some similar hypergolic mixtures. I've attached a table from Urbanski below, which gives induction period of WFNA with some organic amines. RFNA or 98% HNO3 and hydrazine or 98% HNO3 and UDMH react faster with induction periods between 0.003 to 0.012 seconds. In the small scale, the hydrazines likely also react more violently.

hypergolicswithWFNA.png - 13kB

Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  
I have mixed calcium hypochlorite and acetone and it doesnt react unless there is water in it to dissolve the ClO-, at least the reaction isnt visible. I think Ca(ClO)2 will react with many things to start a fire, sulfur sounds worth a try.


Calcium hypochlorite containing 34% hypochlorite chlorine forms unstable decomposing shock sensitive mixtures with materials like tetralin or mineral oil according to Gmelin, grind separately if you mix it with anything.

I've never gotten any hypergolic ignitions out of calcium hypochlorite (65% and old, and others) with various substances (brake fluid having glycol ethers, glycerol, and all else I've mixed it with, the first two which are said to cause ignition).

There is also PbO2 mixed with sugar ignited by conc. H2SO4. I described this reaction here based on crude PbO2. But this is actually more of a glowing than fire. The heat of the reaction might ignite something like a soft tissue.

NurdRage - 1-2-2011 at 16:04


Thanks everyone, keep em coming!

To all the youtubers, and those that want to contribute, start trying some compositions yourself and filming. Don't worry if you overlap, i'll take the best one or even present them both if i think they're both good.

I'm already trying some of the compositions myself, particularly the more exotic ones requiring lab chemicals.


Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  
Yes please be careful :)

Back to ideas. White phosphorus could be produced by micro distillation of red P in a glass tube. Once this is exposed to air it will ignight. The problem I have with this is that it would require a torch to prepare the white P, and if you have a torch well... that kinda defeats the point. Still an idea though...


Its still presentable, basically make a sealed glass tube of the white P with a torch and then carry it around until needed. it could be months later. Then smash the tube and make fire. sounds great to me.

Afterall on some level making fire using magnifying glass sounds just as self-defeating.... you're using giant stellar nuclear fusion reactor that outputs more power in a nanosecond than humanity ever will for all time... just to light a fire :)

[Edited on 2-2-2011 by NurdRage]

Lambda-Eyde - 1-2-2011 at 16:41

Give me a few weeks and I'll have ~0,5 kg of white phosphorus to play with. Add to that 1 L carbon disulfide and we're up for some fun. :P

kuro96inlaila - 1-2-2011 at 17:13

Quote: Originally posted by Lambda-Eyde  
Give me a few weeks and I'll have ~0,5 kg of white phosphorus to play with. Add to that 1 L carbon disulfide and we're up for some fun. :P


Hmm,dissolved white phosphorus!
Hehehe!;)

hkparker - 1-2-2011 at 20:34

:o:o:o 1L CS and .5KG of white P!

Carbon disulfide has been something I've been chasing for this purpose.

@NurdRage yea I thought that could be a good use, instant fire when you crack the glass! Though you couldn't store it forever, white P will covert back to red.

I've really wanted to give this a try, but haven't been able to get red P in the US. I have ideas though, let me know what you think. Ill get the phosphorus from matchbox striker and either distill it into water or dissolve it with CS2 (after I make some). Would it be more practical to just distill the match head and would water collect the white P well?

UnintentionalChaos - 1-2-2011 at 21:34

Quote: Originally posted by kuro96inlaila  
Quote: Originally posted by Lambda-Eyde  
Give me a few weeks and I'll have ~0,5 kg of white phosphorus to play with. Add to that 1 L carbon disulfide and we're up for some fun. :P


Hmm,dissolved white phosphorus!
Hehehe!;)


That would be suicidal. Slight sloshing of the solution and a film of white P formed might ignite, setting the whole mix ablaze.

mewrox99 - 2-2-2011 at 03:17

Agreed. Thats one of the most stupid, reckless things I have heard in a long time.
If you attempt to try that it will undoubtedly end with the death of you! 1L of CS2 even outside is a serious toxicity risk too

EDIT: Hkparker, I'm pretty sure the only things in the match striker is RP and SiO2

[Edited on 2-2-2011 by mewrox99]

Lambda-Eyde - 2-2-2011 at 04:22

Calm down, I'm not suicidal or stupid (at least not seriously retarded)! I won't use more than ~10 ml CS<sub>2</sub> with ~100 mg white P dissolved at a time. And I wouldn't dream of storing the deadly solution!

Also, it would be a terrible waste of such valuable reagents for just one demonstration.

mewrox99 - 2-2-2011 at 05:04

good :)

hkparker - 2-2-2011 at 07:58

I've seen that solution before, in small quantities, and it seemed stable, I wouldn't scale up though :). Its on mabakken's channel.

MrHomeScientist - 2-2-2011 at 09:15

Hey NurdRage, have you come up with a deadline for submitting contributions? There's a number of things I want to try (especially acetylene + chlorine for underwater fireworks), but I'd need to order the chems first if we have the time.

With the chems I have now, the ideas I'd like to try are a thermite reaction (with glycerine + KMnO4 to "start the fire"), something with manganese heptoxide, iodine + aluminum, and the "Negative X" demo that starts fire with water. Any limit to the number of things we can contribute, or should I just pick the best one?

Looking forward to getting started!

NurdRage - 2-2-2011 at 10:40

currently no limits as to time or how many contributions can be made.
I'll assemble them into a video when i believe i have "enough". like say 15 ways to make fire.
If contributors continue to submit then i made eventually make sequel "15 more ways to make fire". etc.etc.etc.

so go at your own pace, but above all be safe. I'd rather have no videos than no experimenters.

Lambda-Eyde - 2-2-2011 at 11:20

Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  
I've seen that solution before, in small quantities, and it seemed stable, I wouldn't scale up though :). Its on mabakken's channel.

"Stable" is probably the least fitting description for this solution! It's extremely flammable/pyrophoric as well as being highly toxic, nothing to take lightly!

Morgan - 2-2-2011 at 11:57

Platinum sponge with fine platinum wire will stairstep into fire with methanol or hydrogen. Also platinum on alumina powder sprinkled into a flask of methanol will ignite as the minute particles glow falling through the vapor. Do not breathe dust. Fume hood or outdoor experiment.
Calcium Hypochlorite will light with sulflur with time or you can add a drop of water.
No real new ideas though. Seems like there is should be some fun new way to start a fire that hasn't been mentioned, something really exotic.
The fire piston is one of the more unusual ways, very old too.

Morgan - 3-2-2011 at 05:40

This is pretty left field but I wonder if a bombardier beetle could ignite a small vessel with CS2 vapor and air if you directed his abdomen toward the said arrangement?
CS2 - Auto-ignition temperature: 90°C

Or would his chemical reaction go better in a pure oxygen atmosphere? Seems there must be something he could ignite with his chemical entourage.
http://sps.nus.edu.sg/~yanganqi/angel6.pdf
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sHo8lokQlA&playnext=1&am...


[Edited on 3-2-2011 by Morgan]

Morgan - 3-2-2011 at 05:56

This would be an interesting way to start a fire, if you could set it up easily enough.
http://gltrs.grc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/GLTRS/browse.pl?2005/TM-20...

turd - 3-2-2011 at 11:34


garage chemist - 3-2-2011 at 12:52

White Phosphorus in CS2 isn't that bad. The solution itself is stable and storable, and in no way does sloshing it around in a glass flask set it on fire. I've made and used this solution a few times.
If a drop is left to evaporate on a watch glass, it doesn't catch fire since the heat from the autooxidising phosphorus is removed too rapidly. Only if the solution is dripped onto paper does it catch fire upon evaporation, and then only reliably if it isn't too cold. If the temperature is far below freezing, the dried solution will just intensely glow in the dark and emit white smoke, but not ignite.

The concentration of P4 in the solution must not be too low, otherwise there will be no ignition of the paper, just localized charring. 100mg in 10ml CS2 will most likely not work, use at least 500mg.

'hole bunch of candidates

The WiZard is In - 3-2-2011 at 12:52

View Full Text pdf - 5 MB
Title: HANDBOOK OF SELECTED PROPERTIES OF AIR- AND WATER-REACTIVE MATERIALS
Personal Author: Gibson, Jack R Weber, Jeanne D
Corporate Author: NAVAL AMMUNITION DEPOT CRANE IN
Source Code: 247250
Page Count: 226 page(s)
AD Number: AD0688422
Report Date: 01 MAR 1969
Distribution Code: 01 - APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE 23 - AVAILABILITY:
DOCUMENT PARTIALLY ILLEGIBLE
Report Classification: U - Unclassified
Collection: Technical Reports

http://tinyurl.com/5rmn5qs

I own a library bound copy the parts of this that are
partially illegible are so in my copy.

There dobe an index for this out on la net.

How 'bout a RedTube version of this?!?

Ethylene glycol perhaps

The WiZard is In - 3-2-2011 at 16:51

Tado Yoshida
Safety of Reactive Chemicals
Elsevier 1987

Ethylene-glycol.jpg - 145kB


djh
---

The womb was a damnable disadvantage in the struggle with the men, a cranky
fouled-up bag of horrors for any woman who would stand equal to man on
modern jobs, for technology was the domain of number, of machines and
electronic circuits, of plastic surfaces, static, vibrations, and contemporary noise.
Yet through all such disturbance, technology was still built on conformity of
practice. If it could adjust to rhythm, tide, the ebb of mood, and the phasing in
and phasing out of energy in the men and women who worked its machines,
nonetheless such adjustments were dear to technology, for each departure from
a uniform beat demanded a new expensive control. The best operator was the
uniform operator, and women had that unmentionable womb, that spongy pool,
that time machine with a curse, dam for an ongoing river of blood whose rhythm
seemed to obey some private compact with the moon. How this womb,
unaccountable liaison with the beyond, disrupted every attempt at uniform
behavior!

Mr. Norman Mailer
The Prisoner of Sex
Little, Brown and Company
Boston
1971


Morgan - 3-2-2011 at 20:01

I remember reading a very thick Hazardous Materials handbook at my university and they even had one on hand at the landfill I visited. As mentioned, there are endless examples to be sure.
How about a shampoo bottle and methanol vapor? ha
http://www.esdjournal.com/static/shower/shower.html

Zaratukhshthra - 4-2-2011 at 03:22

Quote: Originally posted by Formatik  
I've never gotten any hypergolic ignitions out of calcium hypochlorite (65% and old, and others) with various substances (brake fluid having glycol ethers, glycerol, and all else I've mixed it with, the first two which are said to cause ignition).

When I was at highschool I used to pour some (say 10-20 gr) calcium hypochlorite (65%) and a few mL brake fluid in a 1.5 L soda bottle, close the cap and run away. After a few minutes the bottle was suddenly filled with white/gray smoke and went boom right after, making a beautiful smoke ball...(man! I miss those good tmes)... anyway I remember at least one occasion where the bottle bursted into flames. so I think if one pulverize the Ca(ClO)2 (I used granules), work on correct ratios and use a long glass rod to rapidly mix the chems, it would do the trick.

[Edited on 4-2-2011 by Zaratukhshthra]

woelen - 4-2-2011 at 04:47

The following is a set of experiments, which I have done and which give fire without the need to heat anything:

Aluminium in bromine: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/Al+Br2/index...
Al, P, KNO3 in chlorine gas: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/chlorine_fla...
Acetylene in chlorine gas: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/cl2_c2h2/ind...
Magnesium, silver nitrate and water: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/AgNO3+Mg/ind...
Phosphine and chlorine: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/ph3_cl2/inde...
Chlorine dioxide and ammonia: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/NH3_ClO2/ind...

I have more experiments with fire, but these already are mentioned above.


Furthermore, there are a few more I have done, but without web page:

100 mg of Sodium chlorite (NaClO2), a few drops of acetone, a few drops of conc. H2SO4. Let soak for a while and then add a small drop of water.
This leads to a bright orange flash and possible cracking of test tube. NEVER SCALE UP!

TCCA (or Na-DCCA) crushed into a fine powder. Add some red P. Usually this leads to self-ignition within a few minutes. This also works with Ca(OCl)2.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My favorite is the Al, red P and KNO3 mix added to chlorine gas. This leads to very bright white flashes and this experiment is highly spectacular. I sometimes do this as a demo for family and friends. They love it!



another one.

Alchemist - 4-2-2011 at 06:05

Hello all,

Fine Aluminum powder and Cupric Chloride will start to burn with a drop of water.

The Alchemist.....

Morgan - 4-2-2011 at 07:41

I recall eye-droppering some turpentine in chlorine gas.

Morgan - 4-2-2011 at 18:44

I'm sure powdered zinc and ammonium nitrate seem boring, but if you intimately grind a healthy amount of iodine in with the ammonium nitrate and then add the zinc, it produces a far more beautiful smoke than other iodine demonstrations. It can light so fast you have no time to step back. The billowing blue-voilet smoke is so intensely vivid you wish it could last longer.

mewrox99 - 5-2-2011 at 03:28

These all seem very interesting.
Has Nurdrage recorded any video for this project yet?

NurdRage - 5-2-2011 at 09:47

I tried doing a couple involving glycerine, but I think my glycerine is bad since nothing happened. So i'm currently testing brake fluid based compositions.

Formatik - 5-2-2011 at 13:33

Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  
Dr. Ellern in his first book (bet you didn't know there are two!).
Modern Pyrotechnics, 1961. Notes that potassium permanganate
will react not only with glycerin, but also with:

ethylene glycol
erythritol
mannitol
methyglycol
monochlorohydrine
triethanolamine
acetaldehyde
benzaldehyde

Original reference:
H. Rathsburg and H Gawlick. Chem Ztg., 65, 426-7, (1941).


This is a lost reference. Chemiker-Zeitung went through several changes over the years, to the point apparently where this reference can no longer be found. The original title of the paper was: "Über Entflammungen beim Zusammenbringen von organischen Verbindungen mit Kaliumpermanganat" (= Concerning ignitions from the mixing of organic compounds with potassium permanganate). Chemisches Zentralblatt 113, 1942 I, 651 has an abstract of it.

Quote: Originally posted by Zaratukhshthra  
When I was at highschool I used to pour some (say 10-20 gr) calcium hypochlorite (65%) and a few mL brake fluid in a 1.5 L soda bottle, close the cap and run away. After a few minutes the bottle was suddenly filled with white/gray smoke and went boom right after, making a beautiful smoke ball...(man! I miss those good tmes)... anyway I remember at least one occasion where the bottle bursted into flames. so I think if one pulverize the Ca(ClO)2 (I used granules), work on correct ratios and use a long glass rod to rapidly mix the chems, it would do the trick.


With large enough amounts, I would imagine there could be some ignitions with those kinds of compounds.

Quote: Originally posted by NurdRage  
I tried doing a couple involving glycerine, but I think my glycerine is bad since nothing happened. So i'm currently testing brake fluid based compositions.


It can be useful to even report the failures alongside the successes to help reinforce what works and what doesn't. Also, make sure the brake fluid has glycol ethers or similar compounds. This is what makes it a good reactive fuel. Glycerin is hygroscopic, and water content might interfere with some reactions.

Morgan - 5-2-2011 at 14:36

A few weeks ago I bought a cheap but large 18 inch stainless steel salad bowl for an experiment and out of curiousity found I could light a fire with it. It has kind of a mirror finish. I guess it's conceivable you could light your curtains/house on fire if you left it near them in sunlight. It took about a minute for me to light a brown paper bag on fire. I saw this large "fire bowl" and it might have a reflective enough surface to focus light too. If you drag your mouse over the bowl you can view it better. Recently in the news there was a fellow sunbathing and he was forced to leave the pool area from the heat/sunlight reflecting off the tall building.
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07122985000P

Formatik - 5-2-2011 at 15:42

Quote: Originally posted by Morgan  
A few weeks ago I bought a cheap but large 18 inch stainless steel salad bowl for an experiment and out of curiousity found I could light a fire with it. It has kind of a mirror finish. I guess it's conceivable you could light your curtains/house on fire if you left it near them in sunlight. It took about a minute for me to light a brown paper bag on fire. I saw this large "fire bowl" and it might have a reflective enough surface to focus light too. If you drag your mouse over the bowl you can view it better. Recently in the news there was a fellow sunbathing and he was forced to leave the pool area from the heat/sunlight reflecting off the tall building.
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07122985000P


That goes along the lines of fire starting from a physics perspective. Which is also interesting. Like through friction (using wooden sticks), percussion (flint and steel), sunlight radiation (using magnifying glass and lenses), electricity (steel wool and 9 V batteries, using stronger electrical charges to ignite combustibles, etc), and so on. But that appears to be beside the thread-starter's objectives.

Morgan - 5-2-2011 at 17:38

I remember reading some first accounts to carry hydrogen and chlorine flasks under black cloth outdoors and exposing them to sunlight. It's kind of a fast fire I know, but it seems entertaining. Imagine the first scientists playing with this new discovery. Yet another old experiment.

Morgan - 5-2-2011 at 19:47

I once made a large amount of yellow oxalate powder and heated some in a test tube, sealing it with a waxed cork and all for later. If you stand on a chair and sprinkle the contents, the iron makes a good shower of sparks as it reacts with the air.
It's kind of entertaining to watch the powder puff about as it breaks down when being heated. I don't know if this qualifies as fire, but it's one of those classic demonstrations.
Reading back, I see mr. crow aleady mentioned pyrophoric iron.

[Edited on 6-2-2011 by Morgan]

mr.crow - 6-2-2011 at 21:10

From Wikipedia "Spontaneous ignition can result from solution of sodium borohydride in dimethylformamide." This sounds neat because its a reducing agent not an oxidizing agent!

Not enough water in the glycerin can also mess it up.

Morgan - 7-2-2011 at 07:43

Quote: Originally posted by Morgan  
This is pretty left field but I wonder if a bombardier beetle could ignite a small vessel with CS2 vapor and air if you directed his abdomen toward the said arrangement?
CS2 - Auto-ignition temperature: 90°C

Or would his chemical reaction go better in a pure oxygen atmosphere? Seems there must be something he could ignite with his chemical entourage.
http://sps.nus.edu.sg/~yanganqi/angel6.pdf
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sHo8lokQlA&playnext=1&am...

I came across another tidbit of interest. The article is from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"An early explorer, reporting on large bombardier beetles from the neotropics, commented that when these “play off their artillery” they are so hot to the touch “that only few (can) be captured with the naked hand” (19).
http://www.pnas.org/content/96/17/9705.full
http://www.swedishbiomimetics.com/umist.htm
In all the old demonstration books they talk of nitrogen triiodide being sensitive enough to be set off by a fly, but it would be amusing to have a demonstration of a beetle starting a fire I think.
I remember sparking a sealed 2 liter plasitc bottle filled with CS2 vapor and yellow sulfur plating out on the sides of the bottle. The bottle dd not rupture, but briefly expanded ever so slightly. Maybe some of you more knowledgable out there have an idea of some substance that would ignite with products of the beetle's spray. Not that I would want to inflame a beetle, but design it so you could segregate him from any harm.
And yes, I don't have any illusions of anyone really wanting to or going out and trying this, it's just a thought experiment. Although, if I did live in the neotropics, it might be something to tinker with on a rainy day. It makes you wonder if nature could have, given enough time, invented some creature that conjures fire, other than man.

NurdRage - 7-2-2011 at 08:00

hard part is getting these beetles. I live in canada and they're not native here.

If anyone wants to get a hold of them though then that video would be awesome.

Bombardier beetles from Science

The WiZard is In - 7-2-2011 at 08:35


Defensive spray of the bombardier beetle

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The WiZard is In - 7-2-2011 at 08:38

Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  

Defensive spray of the bombardier beetle


File 2 is tooo large to upload.



Attachment: Bombider beetle 3.pdf (1.3MB)
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Bombardier beetle last

The WiZard is In - 7-2-2011 at 08:42

Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  

Defensive spray of the bombardier beetle




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hkparker - 7-2-2011 at 23:17

@NurdRage

A lot of ideas have been discussed and I think we have a really good list of reactions, so I was wondering where were going from here.

Are you going to give us a list of reactions to film or should I already be filming and sending you things right now? I don't think we should all just start filming because some of us are likley to do the same thing, so if you could let me know what you want me to film, or maybe wait a while for more ideas, just let me know, thank you.

Morgan - 8-2-2011 at 09:16

On youtube they have a platinum wire preheated and put into an erlynmeyer flask with methanol and it cycles every time the air eventually refreshes enough to allow another whoosh. And there are the platinum catalyst lighters that light spontaneously with a methanol impregnated fiber. But one day I took the little donut of platinum sponge and tiny platinum wires out my lighter and suspended it on a piece of gold plated nickel wire. By using a two piece jam jar lid, you can tighten the lid without having to twist it. So I hung it on the lip of the jar and you couldn't see up under the lid unless you really looked for it.
Anyway, by adding some methanol to a jam jar with a hole in the lid and waiting a few seconds, the jar ignites spontaneously and a sudden pulsating combustion springs to life. The jam jar cycles about twenty times a second. Unfortunately, the buffeting flames inside the jar is too hard on the tiny wires and fragile donut. It was a one-time design but still it was fun to hear the startling initial hiss and sustained reving. You have to stop the jar after a bit or risk it cracking from the heat. In the center of the gold wire you can see how tiny the little arrangement is.
It makes a good demo for spontaneous combustion I think.

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[Edited on 8-2-2011 by Morgan]

Very Small Ignition System Platinum Sponge Bead and Wire.jpg - 145kB

NurdRage - 8-2-2011 at 09:51

O_O

Whoa! that is AWESOME! i've never seen the methanol + platinum reaction.

Does the platinum need to be preheated? can it work at room temperature?

I tried my platinum electrode with methanol at room temperature but nothing happened. although i'm not sure if my electrode is somehow "deactivated" toward this type of catalysis.



Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  
@NurdRage

A lot of ideas have been discussed and I think we have a really good list of reactions, so I was wondering where were going from here.

Are you going to give us a list of reactions to film or should I already be filming and sending you things right now? I don't think we should all just start filming because some of us are likley to do the same thing, so if you could let me know what you want me to film, or maybe wait a while for more ideas, just let me know, thank you.


As i said before just start filming whatever you want whenever you want and start sending them in. I know there will be overlap but i encourage that so we can select the best ones or even show repeats of the same very cool reactions.

But if you want to reduce redundancy then simply film whatever you want and post a screen shot of your completed experiment here and describe your process. That will signal others you were successful so they can either A) avoid doing it or B) repeat it successfully if they REALLY wanted to do that particular reaction.

You can start anytime, a good time would be now.




I've done large scale collaborative work before and a big problem was people not following through on their given tasks. It's not their fault but i don't want to be held up waiting for someone. So i'm making this more of a controlled free-for-all so that those that want to put in extra work can, and those that fade out won't hurt the rest of us.


[Edited on 8-2-2011 by NurdRage]

Morgan - 8-2-2011 at 11:42

The way the lighters work is by having a high surface area platinum sponge which heats up on being exposed to methanol/air vapor. Then it passes this heat onto the tiny platinum wires which will then start to react with the fuel/air mixture glowing red hot and eventually lighting the mixture. It "stairsteps" up a chain reaction. Some old lighters used platinum wire and naptha but required a quick zap from a battery to give the coil of platinum a start.
Platinum sponge doesn't need any preheating other than room temperature. But if it has sat idle for some time, it needs to be flamed to activate it again. Then it will work for a long time if you keep using it daily. I don't know why this is, if it absorbs oyxgen from the air or what, but heating might drive off any absorbed gases. Palladium will store over 900 times it's volume in hydrogen.
You can use hydrogen too, in fact Dobereiner's lighter was a bit hit at the time. There are also hand warmers that use this principle. I have one that uses naptha but if you put methanol in it, it gets too hot to handle and doesn't need any preheating. The wick fibers are platinized. Of course glow plugs also use this effect.
Here's a couple of articles on the topic.
http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/d-bereiners-ligh...
http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/scientific-american/sup2/Dome...

This is a lighter I bought on ebay. It has a tiny bead of platinum sponge and fine platinum wires that suspend it. I think the wires are about .001ths in diameter, maybe thinner. The other chamber is a hollow wick which you saturate with methanol. By placing the narrow caged side partially in the wicked side a flame quickly appears as the vapor reacts with the sponge and wires.

Tiny Platinum Catalyst Ignition.jpg - 24kB

[Edited on 8-2-2011 by Morgan]

Morgan - 8-2-2011 at 12:51

I wanted to mention that was an interesting article posted by The WiZard is in. I wonder who they got to volunteer to test the beetle's heat effect on their lip? And the shaving cream thought with the H2O2 warming method I didn't know. I looked up hydroquinones in Wiki and it's kind of a popular compound aside from the beetle using it. I saw some study where they found about 26 compounds in the bombardier beetles spray, I guess mostly it's quinone, water, and oxygen you are left with.
It is said that you can light CS2 with steam, so the beetle might be able to set off a barking dog demonstration. Instead of a giant flame ignition like this demo, maybe if the theory holds true, you could break out a little jar with your tiny insect. ha
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6FyeX6Qvwc

The bombardier beetle is said to use the same mechanism as the V-1 buzz bomb or pulsejet, the way the valves staccato open and close by way of hot gases creating a feedback pressure and vacuum effect that actuates the valves.
I have built a few pulsejets and have started them just by priming them and lighting the tail end with a flame instead of a spark plug. Stretching this theory/concept a bit, perhaps you could start a pulsejet by using the bombardier beetle's catalytic pulsejet heating along with a carbon disulfide ignition system.
I have a pulsejet like this one, in case you haven't seen one running. The ten little petals valves .006ths thick open and close 220-240 cycles per second whereas the bombardier beetle pulses around 500 per second.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68MRkGxhvRE
There are also similar engines with less amplitude without valves but they still use a similar feedback effect to sustain the reaction. It was a jam jar like this I started with my platinum catalyst sponge and wire. I picked this small jam jar illustration just because it was kind of different, more delicate. Very shortly the jar would burn his fingers or most likely crack from the heat stress. He is using methanol for fuel.
Anyway, if you are doing spontaneous combustion, it can add to the effect if you start something with it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLw5AXBeAVs

Hydroquinone tidbit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroquinone

One other jam jar perspective.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1LQ94pjUWE









[Edited on 8-2-2011 by Morgan]

NurdRage - 8-2-2011 at 18:57

hmmm.. a platinized glow plug sounds interesting. Although it would be more dramatic for the video if i could do the video with just a piece of platinum sponge or wire.

Would you be willing/able to make a video on lighting methanol at room temp with the platinum items you have available?

Morgan - 8-2-2011 at 19:37

This is one of the better demonstrations of the platinum catalytic reaction. If you had some sponge/platinum black, you could do away with the torch activation of course. I wonder if you could roll or flatten a piece of platinum wire into a very thin foil, if that would in some way create enough surface area? Or maybe powder it somehow and sinter it back together. I don't know how platinum sponge is made. Maybe you could use chloroplatinic acid and deposit some/coat a small piece of carbon to make a sponge-like surface. Oddly, I saw someof that acid for sale on ebay one time. Some sponges are made by using an alloy where an acid dissolves one metal leaving the porous remaining metal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSdBB1vBDKY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2r3bSXX1Y

One more
Around the 6:45 mark, there is one where you just take the cap off and it lights. I sacrificed an element from that kind to light my jam jar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vGYUSw-azQ



[Edited on 9-2-2011 by Morgan]

Morgan - 9-2-2011 at 08:38

This wiki was entertaining. Still there is that mysterious thing about it losing its catalytic property on prolonged exposure to air. To reactivate the cigarette lighters after long periods of disuse, you have to hold the element under a flame for a short bit. I recall reading that sulfur will poison platinum catalysts, so a flame with sulfur should probably be avoided.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platinum_black

I have been playing with a humble idea for platinum, but I don't know quite how to build it, finding little parts and such. But I want to do something different and somewhat creative.
I will see if I can make a video, but I can't promise because I want something that looks good, no matter how simple.

Morgan - 9-2-2011 at 09:43

Sort of an historical note on platinum.

Platinum Sponge
"Another form of metallic platinum in a
‘high area’ state is ‘platinum sponge’. It is
obtained by strongly heating ammonium
chloroplatinate, which decomposes to leave
the element as the only involatile component.
This is the way in which this highly
refractory metal was originally obtained by
Wollaston1, it then being sufficiently free
from embrittling impurities (e.g. iron) to be
capable of sintering and hammering into
sheets while hot.
As would be expected, this porous form of
platinum is again a good catalyst for promoting
the combination of hydrogen with
oxygen, the heat of the exothermic reaction
taking place over the extended surface causing
the sponge to get hot. A jet of hydrogen
impinging in air upon a fragment of a particularly
active preparation may cause it to
glow, thereby igniting the hydrogen. This
was the basis of the ‘Döbereiner’s lamp’1,10,
which was widely used across Europe until
replaced by phosphorus matches."
http://www.sis.org.uk/bulletin/89/Mills.pdf

Morgan - 11-2-2011 at 13:03

While this demo is just water making static electricity, I wonder if you could use/substitute methanol and have the methanol light itself on fire by using four cans and some wire for the most part? You would have to set it up so that some vapor is in the spark discharge region, that is if it would even work. Just kind of a quirky thought.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6491441475172785592#
"HAZARDS & STORAGE: Store in tightly closed containers. Metal containers involving the transfer of 5 gallons or more should be grounded and bonded. Methanol may accumulate static electrical charges which may cause ignition of its vapors."
http://www.bnl.gov/esh/shsd/programs/program_area_chemicals_...





[Edited on 12-2-2011 by Morgan]

Morgan - 11-2-2011 at 13:27

Does anyone have any experience with platinum wire and hydrogen and oxygen? I was wondering since platinum wire doesn't ignite methanol vapor at room temperature without the help of a high surface area platinum sponge to start the reaction, would increasing the oxygen content to optimum levels, would that provide enough activation energy to ignite methanol or a room temperature stoichiometric H2/O2 mixture?
I have some very fine platinum wire .002ths and was just curious at what diameter platinum wire would activate at room temperature or how much lower the temperature could be if oxygen levels were increased to start the chain reaction, if that would help?
I have some 5% platinum on alumina beads and some 1% platinum on alumina powder as well as some .5% palladium on carbon beads and .5% palladium on alumina pellets bought on ebay made by Johnson Mathey. I guess I could fashion a platinum lighter out of these materials. I saw this easy demonstration of .5% platinum on alumina pellets with hydrogen gas. I wonder if the catalytic material used in mufflers would activate at room temperature, if pure oxygen would be enough?
http://www.chem.umn.edu/services/lecturedemo/info/hydrogen_a...




[Edited on 11-2-2011 by Morgan]

Jor - 11-2-2011 at 16:06

Today I did an interesting experiment. I mixed finely powdered KNO3 and Al powder very well (about 350mg KNO3 and 200mg Al powder). Then I added a small spatula of red phosphorus (my guess is that it was about 25mg). Now I carefully mixed with a long spatula. I used more than half of this mix to throw in chlorine gas wich gives very bright white sparks (this experiment is nicely described on woelen's site).

The rest (about 30-40% of the original so at most 250mg) was put on a ceramic tile in the form of a pile. Next a drop of bromine was added. This results in instant very hot fast fire, giving of intense white light. It's quite spectacular. I guess you can also call this instant fire. you don't need much phosphorus, so you can use a few matchbooks to make a nice amount of this mix. it ignites, because phosphorus very voilently with these halogens, creating a fire.
If using very fine powder (german dark Al) or larger amount I can't exlude the risk that it may act as flash powder, so be very careful, it is a powerful mix. It is a beautiful experiment though, my eyes hurt a bit after the reaction, because the light was so intense.

woelen - 12-2-2011 at 03:04

Jor, that is a very nice variation on my experiment. An even more spectacular thing may be to keeep a testtube with chlorine gas nearby. The gas hardly can be seen in a thin tube and then it looks as if a magic tube ignites the mix.

NurdRage - 12-2-2011 at 08:25

I successfully ran the experiment of sodium dichloroisocyanuric acid with DMSO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRlM5PBbJ24


The trick is to inject the DMSO at the SIDE of the pile of NaDCCA. If you do it on top the heat just blows it back into the air and doesn't ignite.

Anybody else started filming some reactions yet?

Fleaker - 12-2-2011 at 08:36

Seeing as I work with platinum and its compounds about every day, I'd like to make a comment on the catalyzed oxidation of methanol (and other easily oxidized compounds) by platinum. It will work with bulk platinum gauze or thin wire but it must be heated to a dull red-heat; in the case of methanol, it quickly makes methanal and then burns this to CO2 and water. Black platinized titanium electrodes will do it at room temperature, but those must be made carefully and produce a little lead waste.


As far as reactivity/pyrophoricity goes, this is true for any of the platinum metals: platinum black (made by sodium formate or borohydride reduction) >> platinum sponge (pyrolysis of ammonium hexachloroplatinate or by hydrazine reduction) > bulk platinum (wire, plate, mesh, etc). I think a lot of the reactivity has to do with the reduction conditions--some times the sponge or black gets saturated by hydrogen in the course of a reduction. The only way to get rid of the hydrogen and render it non-smoldering is to evacuate a quartz tube and strongly heat.

Jor - 12-2-2011 at 15:17

I have 5 grams of 5% Pt on kaowool. I imagine this is very finely divided platinum. Does this work at lower tempertures for the methanol oxidation, or doesn't it work at all. I ask and not try because the bottle is still sealed, so i don't want to open it if it's not worth it.

MrHomeScientist - 12-2-2011 at 15:27

Very cool NurdRage, that's a pretty unique reaction! I just received my CaC2 in the mail today so I'd like to do the "underwater fireworks" demo where acetylene + chlorine makes little explosions. Not strictly "fire" that you could use to light your grill, but it's something I'm excited about doing. Hopefully it'll fit with the rest of the collab. I'm also looking into aluminum + iodine, "negative X" fire ignited with water, and thermite ignited with permanganate and glycerin. The latter two I've done many times, and I just need to get out and film them.

So in answer to your question, no I haven't started yet :P But soon! I'm trying acetylene tomorrow.

Morgan - 12-2-2011 at 19:16

I have one of those hand warmers that use platinized fiber of some sort, either an asbestos or some ceramic. If you mist it with methanol you can see the fibers light up and glow. I took one element apart, it was a woven tube/wick with a ~3/8 inch diameter spring inside to hold its shape. If you tease the ends of the woven tube just a bit, they will light methanol if you mist it with a finger pump sprayer filled with methanol.
Naturally you should make an effort not to breathe any fibers whatever setup you use. Even if they aren't asbestos, finely divided platinum isn't good for you either.
http://www.shopwiki.com/Platinum-Catalyst-Flameless-Metal-Ha...




[Edited on 13-2-2011 by Morgan]

MrHomeScientist - 12-2-2011 at 22:02

Morgan that would be a great video and contribution to our collaboration - you should make it! Sounds really impressive to see!

Morgan - 13-2-2011 at 09:07

It's funny to think during the early 1800's in Döbereiner's time, a platinum catalyst hydrogen fueled lighter was the norm in parts of Europe and a Bic lighter would have seemed exotic, but today Döbereiner's lighter seems the more wondrous.
I was trying to learn more about platinum and came across an article that said you could melt sodium in an oxygen atmosphere without it igniting if the oxygen were perfectly dry. If you cut a piece in the dark, you can see a faint glow as it reacts with air. And I read when preparing some platinum electrodes or catalysts they use a tiny amount of some lead compound, it somehow increases the activity of the catalyst but they said they weren't sure why.
I also tried to find something on palladium because it seems if you loaded the powder or high surface area electrode up with hydrogen, that that could have a chance of reacting with air, but maybe I'm wrong. There were those cold fusion guys that suffered an explosion and I wondered if the hydrogen loaded palladium was the cause or by what means.
I once bought a gram of a talc-like palladium black on ebay, but I've never done any experiments with it yet, and also some platinum oxide and ruthenium if anyone knows any enthralling experiments to do with these powders.
In general, it seems there are many things that lower the threshold of ignition, whether they get used up or not in the reaction. A common example is sulfur lowers the ignition point of gunpowder. In making pyrophoric iron with iron oxalate, I wonder if or how much carbon or trace elements help the reaction along moreso than just a pure iron powder would when sprinkled out of a test tube? The catalytic hand warmers that use finely divided iron have some salt to speed the reaction and carbon too according to this article. The carbon most probably increases the surface area.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_warmer
I watched a video of some magnalium being made and a bit of the hot solid was raked across the concrete, creating lively, crackle sparks, almost like the mischmetals. The blending of Al and Mg seem quasi catalytic in some respects.
So I was wondering if one single fiber of fused quartz that was platinized would cause an ignition of a methanol/air mixture. Or do you need several fibers to reach the threshold? I wonder if the ceramic glass-like/mineral fibers of a handwarmer are smooth or textured, if you looked at them under a microscope? If they are smooth, you would have to wonder if plain platinum wire of the same diameter would work, or have they incorporated some other elements or roughness to the surface of these catalytic fibers. Would a pure oxygen atmosphere lower the threshold too?

Morgan - 13-2-2011 at 10:20

Just a few historical tidbits on the catalytic lighter.

"Dobereiner was so taken by these experiments
that he repeated them “at least thirty
times” that day, and “always with the same
result”.

"On 3rd August Diibereiner produced an even
more striking version of his experiment. Instead
of the previous static arrangement, he
directed a fine jet of hydrogen at the platinum
from a distance of 4 cm, so that it was mixed
with air before reaching its target. This had the
effect of making the platinum immediately
white hot and igniting the hydrogen jet. More
excited letters were dispatched, commenting
that “this experiment is most surprising and
amazes every observer when one tells him that
it is the result of a dynamic interaction between
two types of matter, one of which is the lightest
and the other the heaviest of all known bodies”

"In spite of the invention of the safety
match in 1848 by one of his former students, R.
C. Mttger, the Dabereiner lighter was still in
use at the beginning of the First World War.
Part of its attraction lay in the scope it offered
to the imaginative decorator: Dobereiner
himself suggested that one could “embellish it
with two alchemical symbols, namely the lion
and the snake, and so arrange it that the snake
takes the place of the capillary tube for the
stream of hydrogen and the open jaws of the
lion sitting opposite the snake hold the
platinum” (I 5).
http://www.platinummetalsreview.com/pdf/pmr-v30-i3-141-146.p...

Morgan - 13-2-2011 at 13:23

This is kind of dark and not that great, but it does show one way of starting a fire at room temperature. I had this wick in a baby jar for maybe ten years. I had to light it once to activate it, it wouldn't go after sitting for so long. But I did let it cool for ten minutes to make sure there was no residual heat helping out. I have another assembled wick that also glowed quickly after sitting for a day, but again, you have to fray the ends to make fire. Perhaps if you were to blow on it, you could bring about an ignition unfrayed. Or you could wind a piece of platinum wire around the wick and stairstep up an actual flame.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtkEfzpZ4Sg

NurdRage - 13-2-2011 at 18:59

Beautiful! simply beautiful, first time i've ever seen platinum starting a fire with methanol at room temperature.

Is this a contribution to the collaborative fire video?

MrHomeScientist - 13-2-2011 at 20:30

I just did the "underwater fireworks" experiment, and it's cool as hell! I was really impressed at how easy it was on my first attempt. Here's a link to the test footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPBGTunnv8o

The plume of smoke at 0:15 is actually just my breath, I'm trying to blow the real smoke from the reaction out of my face :P So the experiment works! I'll make it a little prettier for the collab video. I do wish I was done building my fume hood though, that chlorine is nasty stuff.

Morgan - 13-2-2011 at 20:41

You can use the video for the collaborative video if you like. I'm glad you liked it.

NurdRage - 13-2-2011 at 21:28

Quote: Originally posted by MrHomeScientist  
I just did the "underwater fireworks" experiment, and it's cool as hell! I was really impressed at how easy it was on my first attempt. Here's a link to the test footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPBGTunnv8o

The plume of smoke at 0:15 is actually just my breath, I'm trying to blow the real smoke from the reaction out of my face :P So the experiment works! I'll make it a little prettier for the collab video. I do wish I was done building my fume hood though, that chlorine is nasty stuff.


Good stuff, and of course above all else be safe. Take your time to build the fume hood if you need to.


@Morgan awesome! when i'm ready to start editing everything together i'll get the raw file from you.

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