Burning of propane

A balloon filled with propane explodes after ignition

Scientific name: Demonstration of the burning of propane


Fire and Flame 25 - Pure Propane in Air

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Fire and Flame 27 - Propane and Oxygen

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Setting Propane Ablaze -or- Propane Balloons of Doom

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Wear eye protection and lab gloves. There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready. Explosions may be very loud - protect your ears.

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

Reaction formula

C3H8 + O2 → 3CO2 + 4H2O


  1. Propane

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. Take three balloons and fill them with pure propane, a propane -oxygen mixture in a volume ratio of "1:1", and a propane-oxygen mixture in a volume ratio of "1:5".
  2. Set each balloon in a laboratory stand.
  3. Ignite each balloon with a long burner.

Scientific background

Propane is a highly flammable gas. According to the stoichiometry of the oxidation reaction of propane with oxygen the best ratio of reagents is 1 volume of propane per 5 volumes of oxygen. Explosion of this mixture is the loudest and the fastest.


Published on 24 June 2015

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