Chemical Fire

Make Chemical Fire Without Matches or a Lighter

This is an example of chemical fire.
Several chemical reactions result in combustion, without requiring additional help from a match to get them going. Dorling Kindersley, Getty Images

Here are four ways to make fire using chemical reactions. No matches or lighter are needed to start the fire. Each of these techniques is simple and requires only 3 chemicals each.

Chemical Fire #1

  • potassium permanganate
  • glycerin
  • water

Add a few drops of glycerin to a few crystals of potassium permanganate. Accelerate the reaction by adding a couple of drops of water.

Chemical Fire #2

  • acetone
  • sulfuric acid
  • potassium permanganate

Soak a tissue with acetone to make it more flammable. Next, draw sulfuric acid into a glass pipette. Dip the pipette into potassium permanganate so that the tip of the pipette is coated with a few crystals. Dispense the sulfuric acid onto the tissue. The potassium permanganate and sulfuric acid mix to produce manganese heptoxide and fire.

Chemical Fire #3

Mix a small amount of sodium chlorate and sugar. Initiate the reaction by adding a few drops of sulfuric acid.

Chemical Fire #4

Mix together a small amount of ammonium nitrate and zinc powder. Initiate the reaction by adding a few drops of hydrochloric acid.

Chemical Fire Safety

If you are performing a demonstration of chemical fire using any of these reactions, use very small amounts of the chemicals listed for each project.

Wear proper safety gear and work on a fire-safe surface.