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Author: Subject: Making fire (youtube collaborative video)
NurdRage
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[*] posted on 26-1-2011 at 20:33
Making fire (youtube collaborative video)


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)
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kuro96inlaila
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[*] posted on 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




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[*] posted on 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




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[*] posted on 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.




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[*] posted on 27-1-2011 at 04:06


Aluminium and iodine plus a few drops of water;

http://www.practicalchemistry.org/experiments/reaction-betwe...
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barbs09
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[*] posted on 27-1-2011 at 04:09


Mix sodium peroxide + sugar and add drop of water to get going
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[*] posted on 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]
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smuv
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[*] posted on 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).
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.




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mewrox99
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[*] posted on 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




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[*] posted on 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]
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madscientist
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[*] posted on 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!



I weep at the sight of flaming acetic anhydride.
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mewrox99
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[*] posted on 29-1-2011 at 04:34


Conc Sulfuric Acid + 70% Hydrogen Peroxide + Aniline :o
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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
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[*] posted on 29-1-2011 at 18:03
K permanganate & ...


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).


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[*] posted on 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
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mewrox99
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[*] posted on 29-1-2011 at 19:03


Hot Copper + Acetylaldehyde
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hkparker
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[*] posted on 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.




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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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)
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[*] posted on 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.




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[*] posted on 30-1-2011 at 02:32


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