Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Start Green Fire With a Drop of Water Share Flipboard Email Print Yuji Sakai, Getty Images Science Chemistry Activities for Kids Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 06, 2020 You don't need a match to start a fire. In this project, start a fire by adding a drop of water to a dry chemical mixture. The best part? The flames will be green! Fire Safety You should be able to tell from the premise that this is an adult-only project, best performed by someone with prior pyrotechnic project experience. Follow the instructions carefully to minimize the risk of a fire. You're using water to start a combustion reaction, so keep your materials away from moisture, soft drinks, perspiration, etc. Got it? Green Materials Instant cold pack (3 grams ammonium nitrate)7 grams zinc filings or powder1/2 gram table salt (sodium chloride)Mortar and pestle If you don't have a cold pack, you can use pure ammonium nitrate, which is available online. You can buy zinc filings or powder online or you can sand a galvanized piece of metal from a hardware store to get the element. If you have to file or sand the zinc, it's a good idea to wear a mask, such as the kind used for home repair, so you don't inhale zinc particles. Procedure for Starting the Green Flames Open the cold pack. Remove and discard the bag of water. Open the bag of ammonium nitrate. Measure out 3 grams of the granules and put them in the mortar.Add 1/2 gram of sodium chloride (salt).Use the pestle to grind together the salt and ammonium nitrate to form a powder.Carefully grind the 7 grams of zinc powder into this mixture. Water can ignite the mixture at this point, so don't spill your drink or drip sweat into the powder. It's a good idea to wear disposable plastic gloves, because you don't want the final mixture reacting with water on your hands.Transfer the mixture to a metal or otherwise fire-proof container. Take it outdoors to start the reaction. Use a pipette or other long-handled dispensing device to add a few drops of water. The reaction can be spectacular, so move back immediately. Another reaction you can do using these materials is to mix ammonium nitrate with zinc and initiate combustion by adding a few drops of hydrochloric (muriatic) acid. Disclaimer: Please be advised that the content provided by our website is for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. Fireworks and the chemicals contained within them are dangerous and should always be handled with care and used with common sense. By using this website you acknowledge that ThoughtCo., its parent About, Inc. (a/k/a Dotdash), and IAC/InterActive Corp. shall have no liability for any damages, injuries, or other legal matters caused by your use of fireworks or the knowledge or application of the information on this website. The providers of this content specifically do not condone using fireworks for disruptive, unsafe, illegal, or destructive purposes. You are responsible for following all applicable laws before using or applying the information provided on this website.