Pyrophoric Iron

Make the iron burn on air!

Scientific name: Getting pyrophoric iron and demonstrating its properties


Pyrophoric Iron - Explosionsandfire



Make Pyrophoric Iron

[Ferrous Oxalate Synthesis] [Pyrophoric Iron]

by zhmapper

Pyrophoric Iron

by metonajd1


The test tube MUST be made of heat safe glass. Use tongs or a holder for holding the tube during heating. Be careful with the gas burner. 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

FeC2O4 → Fe + 2CO2

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. Take a fire-resistance test tube. Fix the tube in a special holder or take the test tube with metal tongs.
  2. Put a small amount of iron oxalate into the tube.
  3. Evenly heat the tube with a gas burner. Heat the iron oxalate till it turns black.
  4. Turn the test tube over and pour the iron on a refractory plate. You should carry this experiment out in a dark room for more efficiency.

Scientific background

A pyrophoric substance ignites spontaneously in air. Examples are iron sulfide and many reactive metals including uranium, when powdered or thinly sliced. In this experiment, finely divided iron has pyrophoric properties. It is obtained in the decomposition reaction of iron (II) oxalate:

FeC2O4 → Fe + 2CO2

Iron is very reactive, it flares up when exposed to air.


Published on 26 March 2015

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