Alcohols and chromium (III) oxide

Demonstration of the burning of alcohols in presence of chromium (III) oxide


Окисление бутанола

Окисление этанола оксидом хрома III

by Руслан Андреев


Wear lab gloves and eye protection. There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready. Make sure there is nothing flammable nearby.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

2 C2H5OH + O2 → 2 CH3COH + 2 H2O

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Pour some alcohol into an evaporation dish.
  2. Put chromium (III) oxide into the dish.
  3. Ignite this mixture. Initially alcohol burns with a weak flame, but when chromium (III) oxide becomes red-hot, the flame intensifies and spreads.

Scientific background

Alcohols are flammable substances. The oxidation reaction may be catalyzed by chromium (III) oxide. Aldehydes are formed in this reaction.


Published on 14 July 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst