Burning Water

Poured into a flask tap water burns

Scientific name: Hexane is immiscible in water and forms an upper layer which burns


Burning Water

by FlinnScientific


Wear eye protection goggles. Work away from flammable objects.

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 C6H14 + 19 O2 → 12 CO2 + 14 H2O


  1. Hexane
  2. Water

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Pour a few milliliters of hexane into a 100 ml flask.
  2. Fill the flask with ordinary tap water almost to the brim.
  3. Ignite the contents of the flask from the top.
  4. Observe the burning water.

Scientific background

Hexane is a nonpolar substance unlike water. For this reason, these two liquids are immiscible. Furthermore, hexane is lighter than water therefore it forms the upper layer. Because the water is at the bottom and there is hexane in the top layer, the water does not prevent for burning.


Published on 30 June 2015

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