Fire in a glass
Is it possible to obtain flammable gas from a non-flammable salt?
Attention! All experiments were performed by professionals. Do not attempt.
- cork stands;
- solid fuel;
- aluminum foil;
- calcium chloride;
- sodium acetate.
A heater is set on a tray with cork stands. Calcium chloride and sodium acetate are measured into a beaker, which is then covered with aluminum foil and heated with solid fuel. After the beaker cools, the foil is removed and a lit match is lowered into the beaker – and a flame flares up!
Heating calcium chloride with sodium acetate produces sodium chloride and calcium acetate:
2CH₃CO₂Na + CaCl₂ ⇄ 2NaCl +(CH₃CO₂)₂Ca
The latter then decomposes upon further intense heating:
(CH₃CO₂)₂Ca → CaCO₃ + (CH₃)₂CO
This also produces a volatile and flammable substance – acetone. Its vapor burns easily when a burning match is lowered into the beaker:
(CH₃)₂CO + 4O₂ → 3CO₂ + 3H₂O
Calcium acetate can also be used to make a flammable gel. For a similar experiment, see the link.
Safe experiments await you in the MEL Chemistry subscription!