Fire water

Fire in the beaker with potassium, diethyl ether and water

Scientific name: Diethyl ether vapors ignite by potassium and water reaction


Fire Water - Periodic Table of Videos

by Periodic Videos

Ignition of Ether by Adding Water to Potassium

by champagnerocker


Diethyl ether and its vapors are very flammable. Don't use near fire or heater. Potassium is highly reactive, explodes with water.

There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready.

Wear lab gloves and eye protection.

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

Reaction formula

(CH3CH2)2O + 6O2 → 4CO2 + 5H2O

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 small pieces of potassium into a beaker
  2. Pour some diethyl ether into the beaker with potassium
  3. Add small amount of water

Scientific background

Potassium reacts with water and produces heat. Vapors of diethyl ether ignite because of this.


Published on 03 January 2015

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