Water ignites a match

Superheated water steam ignites a match


Imagine It - Superheated steam ignites a match

by ImaginationStationOH

Lighting a match with water

by The Royal Institution

Properties of superheated steam

by ImaginationStationOH

Superheated Steam - Cool Science Experiment

by Sick Science!


Superheated steam is very hot! Beware of burns! Wear thermal protective gloves when igniting the match in the steam.

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


  1. Water

Step-by-step instruction

For the experiment you will need an Erlenmeyer flask, a rubber stopper with a hole, copper coil tubing, a hot plate and a gas burner.

  1. Pour some water into the Erlenmeyer flask, close it by the rubber stopper with hole and place it on the hot plate.
  2. Insert the end of the copper tubing into the hole of the stopper.
  3. When the water boils, heat the tubing by the burner. The copper tubing should be heated to red-hot.
  4. Hold a match to the jet of steam coming out of the end of the tube. After a few seconds the match ignites.

Scientific background

The temperature of "normal" water steam is approximately 100 °C.

When we heat the steam in the copper tubing, the temperature of the steam increases to 230 °C. The match ignites at this temperature.


Published on 11 March 2015

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