Armstrong's mixture explosion

Mixture explosion caused by hammer impact

Scientific name: The rapid oxidation of red phosphorus with potassium chlorate


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Wear eye protection goggles. Work away from flammable objects. Mix the components very gently!

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

Reaction formula

6 P + 5 KClO3 → 3 P2O5 + 5 KCl

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. Put 0.25 g of red phosphorus and 0.82 g of potassium chlorate on a glass surface.
  2. Gently mix the components using a brush.
  3. Transfer the mixture on a non-combustible solid surface and hit with a hammer.
  4. Observe a violent explosion

Scientific background

Potassium chlorate is a strong oxidizing agent, and is sometimes used instead of gunpowder. Red phosphorus is a good reducing agent. Both substances are unstable and reactive. The above reasons give higher detonation ability to the mixture.


Published on 30 June 2015

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