Fire and Flames Chemistry Demonstrations

Exciting Chem Demos Involving Fire and Flame

Are you looking for an exciting chemistry demonstration? How about one that involves fire, flames and sparks? Here is a collection of simple demonstrations that produce spectacular fiery results.
Set ice on fire for a spectacular exothermic chemistry demonstration.
Set ice on fire for a spectacular exothermic chemistry demonstration. Anne Helmenstine

Light a match to a bowl of ice and watch it burn. Really, the ice melts into water, which reacts with calcium carbide to produce acetylene gas. When a flame is applied to the ice, the acetylene catches fire, making the ice appear to burn.

Ice on Fire Chemistry Demonstration

Igniting acetylene gas produced by a chemical reaction blows the face out of a pumpkin.
Igniting acetylene gas produced by a chemical reaction blows the face out of a pumpkin. It's like the pumpkin carves itself!. Allen Wallace, Getty Images

React calcium carbide and water inside a Halloween jack-o'-lantern to produce flammable acetylene gas. Ignite the gas and make the pumpkin carve itself.

Self-Carving Exploding Pumpkin

In the burning money demonstration, paper currency is on fire yet is not consumed by the flames.
In the burning money demonstration, paper currency is on fire yet is not consumed by the flames. ICHIRO, Getty Images

Set real paper currency on fire and watch it burst into flame, yet remain undamaged. This exciting demonstration illustrates that fuels have an ignition point and that it is possible to control the temperature of a flame.

Burning Money Demonstration

It's easy to make your own fire tornado or fire whirl.
It's easy to make your own fire tornado or fire whirl. Add a bit of boric acid, borax or copper sulfate to turn the flames vivid green. Anne Helmenstine

Demonstrate how tornadoes, whirlpools, dust devils and fire whirls are made... using fire! Illustrate the forces that form a vortex and show how a vortex can be dispelled. You can color the flames to add interest to this demonstration.

Make a Colored Fire Vortex

Thermite reaction between aluminum and ferric oxide.
Thermite reaction between aluminum and ferric oxide. CaesiumFluoride, Wikipedia Commons

The thermite reaction is a practical chemical reaction, plus it produces a spectacular flame.It is an excellent demonstration to show that oxidation of metals is a form of combustion. If you are seeking a more advanced fire demo, don't miss this one.

Perform the Thermite Reaction

Fire
Fire. Victor Jesus, stock.xchng

There are several ways to produce fire without using a match or other source of flame. Chemical fire is a fascinating demonstration that is also educational, since it gets people thinking about how combustion works.

Find an Instant Fire Recipe

Use a long torch or candle attached to a meter stick to detonate a hydrogen balloon!
Use a long torch or candle attached to a meter stick to detonate a hydrogen balloon! This is one of the most dramatic chemistry fire demonstrations. Anne Helmenstine

Fill a balloon with hydrogen gas and use a flame to make it explode. This demonstration is spectacular on its own, or you can compare the effect of lighting a flame to hydrogen balloons, oxygen balloons, and balloons filled with a mixture of the gases.

Try the Hydrogen Balloon Explosion