“Devil’s flash” experiment

How to make a “firecracker” with zinc and sulfur

Some chem­i­cal ex­per­i­ments are al­most in­cred­i­ble enough to in­spire a be­lief in the su­per­nat­u­ral! In this ex­per­i­ment, fire ini­ti­ates a re­ac­tion be­tween two pow­ders, re­sult­ing in a blind­ing yel­low-green flash and a cloud of smoke. Are you ready for a mir­a­cle?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Wear a pro­tec­tive mask, gloves and glass­es and work in a well-ven­ti­lat­ed room. Ob­serve safe­ty rules when work­ing with fire.

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • 5 g zinc pow­der;
  • 4 g sul­fur pow­der;
  • 1 g potas­si­um chlo­rate;
  • Petri dish;
  • beaker;
  • lighter.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Com­bine the 5 g zinc pow­der and 4 g sul­fur pow­der in the beaker and stir thor­ough­ly, then trans­fer the mix­ture to the Petri dish. Add 1 g potas­si­um chlo­rate as an ig­nit­ing agent. When lit, the mix­ture ex­plodes!

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

The com­bus­tion of potas­si­um chlo­rate ini­ti­ates a vi­o­lent re­ac­tion be­tween sul­fur and zinc. Smoke clouds of zinc sul­fide and sul­fur are re­leased, and the mix­ture burns with a yel­low-green flame.

Zn + S → ZnS