Fireballs

Fireballs You Can Hold in Your Hand

Scientific name: Fireballs with petrol and cotton

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Safety

Do not pour gasoline on your hands or clothing. Remove the stand with fuel to a safe location before setting fire to the fireball. There is a fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready.

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

Reaction formula

2C6H14 + 13O2 → 12CO2 + 14H2O

Reagents

  1. Gasoline

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Take a small piece of cotton (you can use an old T-shirt or cotton cloth), cotton thread, needle, gasoline or lighter fluid, a lighter, tongs or tweezers.
  2. Thread the needle and roll a piece of cotton into a ball. Fasten the thread pierced ball at the beginning and at the end.
  3. Place the ball on a fire-proof stand. Wet the ball with gasoline or lighter fluid. Do not pour gasoline on your hands or clothes.
  4. You should not set fire to the fireball on your hand because this may be too hot for you. Take the fireball with tongs or tweezers and ignite it. After that slowly lower the burning fireball on your hand.

Scientific background

The fuel consists of many hydrocarbons, hexane is a major component of the gasoline. Hexane is combusted by reaction:

2C6H14 + 13O2 → 12CO2 + 14H2O

As you know, gasoline is a flammable liquid and fuel vapor burns very well. When we impregnate a cotton ball with gasoline, gasoline evaporates and vapors burn after ignition. Vapors are burning over the ball, and so we can keep the fireball in our hands. Of course, it's hot, but it's a very spectacular experiment!

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 18 March 2015

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