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Really wonderful community video collaboration from the chem-hackers of sciencemadness.org, including MAKE pal and guest blogger Hayden Parker. Over about fourteen minutes, we are treated to a bench-side view of two dozen energetic reactions that share an interesting property: reagents that, on mixing, spontaneously burst into flame.

My favorite of the lot is the beautiful, er, “purple haze” produced by the reaction of finely divided aluminum and iodine, which starts at 5:50. A close second is the unusual solid-phase reaction between vitamin c and sodium chlorite—two dry powders that spontaneously burn when stirred or shaken together—which starts at 5:00.

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • http://www.facebook.com/TimGray4 Timothy Gray

    You may get fire, but you also get a free toxic cloud as well!

  • Anonymous

    When I was young one of my brothers did the iodine and aluminum a few times.  It is far cooler in person.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UF7G2LQI427TUOMYNHOEPSRRVU Hank

    Yesterday we saw how to print weapons parts, today improvised field expedient incendiaries, tomorrow…? This is as good as the training at Camp Peary!

  • Alex Deadeye
  • http://twitter.com/halfvastcnsprtr Halfvast Conspirator

    Man + Woman, late to party, driving around lost for 10 minutes.  Hypergolic reaction.

  • http://twitter.com/halfvastcnsprtr Halfvast Conspirator

    Man + Woman, late to party, driving around lost for 10 minutes.  Hypergolic reaction.

  • Anonymous

    That was excellent. Give those guys a …”webby”(?)!

    Only one tiny wish:  along with the text on each subsection intro include a (rough) chemical reaction formula.  if for no other reason to remind those of us that took CHEM 256 six thousand years ago how many oxygens on Periodic acid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508222901 Sam Moss

    This is excellent. It’s so refreshing to see amazing chemistry demonstrated on youtube with good documentation.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Slapper-Man/100001968087592 Slapper Man

    Go chemistry?

    CleanSheetsAndDirtyGirls.Blogspot.com

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