Explosion of a mixture of chromium oxide(VI)-acetone

powerful explosion

Scientific name: Combustion of acetone with decomposition of chromium oxide


Chromium Trioxide (FAIL) - Periodic Table of Videos

Оксид хрома и ацетон - химические опыты


Wear eye protection goggles. Use a fire-resistant workplace. If possible, use a hood or carry out the experiment outdoors.

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

Reaction formula

4 CrO3 → 2 Cr2O3 + 3 O2

C3H6O + 4 O2 → 3 CO2 + 3 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. Put 1 gram of chromium oxide in a mortar using a spatula.
  2. Then, pour a few milliliters of acetone.
  3. Ignite the acetone using matches or a lighter. Quickly move away.
  4. Watch intense burning or explosion of the reaction mixture

Scientific background

Chromium oxide is an unstable compound and a very strong oxidizing agent. Decomposition of chromium trioxide leads to the formation of chromium oxide(III) and oxygen under the action of heat generated by the combustion of acetone. Oxygen, in turn, supports the combustion of acetone, making it more intense, ultimately leading to an explosion.


Published on 30 April 2015

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