How to make a Smokebomb

A lot of smoke is liberated from burning sugar.

Scientific name: Sugar reacts with potassium nitrate forming potassium carbonate, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water


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Wear eye protection goggles and gloves during preparation process. In order to avoid self ignition do not use open flame to melt the ingredients. There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready. Make sure there is nothing flammable nearby. Test the smoke bomb outdoors only. Avoid of inhalation of the reaction products.

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

Reaction formula

48KNO3 + 5C12 → 24K2CO3 + 24N2 + 36CO2 + 55H2O

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. To prepare a smoke bomb you need potassium nitrate and sugar (or sorbitol, glucose). The result mixture should contain 3 parts of potassium nitrate and 2 parts of sugar. Weight out the components and mix them in given proportion.
  2. Place a metal bowl on an oil bath.
  3. Pour reagents into the bowl.
  4. Heat the mixture gently. Stir it using a wooden spoon. Keep on heating and stirring until the mixture turns to a caramel-like mass.
  5. Turn off heating. Put the mass with a wooden spoon on top of aluminum foil.
  6. Place a piece of magnesium ribbon as a fuse.
  7. Mold the mass into desired shape using aluminum foil as a wrap.
  8. After a while the mass will cool down and become hard. Put off the foil. The smoke bomb is ready for use.
  9. Set the smoke bomb in a safe place away from any flammable material. Light the ribbon and stand back.
  10. The smoke bomb produces some flame and a huge amount of smoke.

Scientific background

The smoke bomb used in this experiment consists of two main components: sugar as a fuel and potassium nitrate as an oxidizer. The mixture burns rapidly with release of a large quantity of expanding gases. Potassium nitrate decomposes producing oxygen to oxidize the fuel.


Published on 09 September 2015

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