Preparation of methane

Flammable gas is liberated when two solids are heated.

Scientific name: Sodium hydroxide and sodium acetate react producing methane.


Получение метана

by MrVella777


Wear eye protection goggles and gloves. Methane is highly flammable gas - take precautions.

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

Reaction formula

NaOH + CH3COONa → CH4 + Na2CO3

Step-by-step instruction

  1. To perform this experiment solid sodium acetate and solid sodium hydroxide are required.
  2. Prepare a mixture of the reagents in ratio 1:1. Weight about 2-3 grams of sodium acetate and the same quantity as sodium hydroxide. Mix them thoroughly in a beaker or porcelain dish.
  3. Place about 4 grams of the mixture into a test tube.
  4. Seal the test-tube with a stopper with a gas-delivery tube. The gas-delivery tube should look upwards.
  5. Fix the test-tube on a stand.
  6. Heat the test-tube gently with the cold part of the flame. To avoid local overheating keep the flame in motion.
  7. After a while the gas starts liberating.
  8. Prepare an empty test-tube. Collect some gas keeping this test-tube on top of the gas delivery tube.
  9. Methane is a flammable gas. To set it on fire turn the covering test tube and hold a burning match to the end of the gas delivery tube.
  10. The gas burns with a blue (red) fire.

Scientific background

Methane is one of the chemical reaction products between sodium hydroxide and sodium acetate. The second product is sodium carbonate. This reaction is often used to obtain methane in the laboratory. Methane is a very flammable gas. It easily ignites and burns with a colored flame. If the substance is pure enough the flame is blue. If there are some other organic components as side products of methane producing reaction the flame turns red.


Published on 05 August 2015

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