Chemical Formulas and Equations


Ammonium Dichromate Volcano – Ignite an (NH4)2Cr2O7 volcano in an aquarium to produce N2 (g), H2O (g), and Cr2O3 (s).

Combustion of Ethanol Vapor – Allow a small amount of ethanol to vaporize in a large carboy, pour out the excess liquid, and hold a lighted splint to the mouth of the container – the impressive reaction also demonstrates the flammability of organic vapors. (AKA “Whoosh Bottle”)

Combustion of Methane Bubbles – Use a candle on a dowel rod to ignite large soap bubbles filled with CH4 – this is very impressive!

Combustion of Sulfur in Oxygen – Burn sulfur in air enriched with O2 to produce SO(g), then dissolve the product in water containing universal indicator to show that SO2 is an acidic oxide – this shows how acid rain results from burning high sulfur coal.

Ether Fire – Demonstrate the combustion of ether by allowing the vapor to flow from a can down an inclined trough to a candle, resulting in a vapor flashback fire.

Methane Bubbles XTREME – Ignite a tower of methane-filled soap bubbles to produce a pillar of flame 3-5m high. As seen on Mythbusters!

Mole Samples – Show mole samples of various elements and compounds in bottles (the 22.4 L box and/or a mole of O2 in a balloon is available upon request).

Potassium and Water – Drop a piece of potassium into a few inches of water and phenolphthalein in an aquarium to produce H2 (g) and KOH (aq) – the heat of reaction ignites the H2 (g) and a lavender flame is observed, and the indicator turns pink from the formation of KOH.

Production and Combustion of Acetylene – add CaC2 to water to generate C2H2 (g), then ignite the gas.

Reaction of Iron and Sulfur – Lay a red-hot iron rod into a powdered mixture of the elements iron and sulfur to produce a non-magnetic compound, iron (II) sulfide, FeS (s).

Reaction of Zinc and Sulfur – Lay a red-hot iron rod into a powdered mixture of zinc and sulfur to produce a shower of sparks and ZnS.