"Smoking fingers" experiment
How to do a chemistry trick with smoking fingers
Some magicians use chemical experiments in their work. Let’s discover the secret of one of them in this interesting experiment, which everyone can conduct at home, observing safety precautions.
Reagents and equipment:
- porcelain cup or dish;
Cut the scratch pad off a matchbox, removing as much paper from it as possible. Place it in a porcelain cup or dish and ignite. Then remove the unburnt remains. At the bottom a thick oily liquid has formed. Put the liquid on your fingers and rub them together.
The scratch pad of the matchbox contains red phosphorous, and on burning it turns to white phosphorous, which because of the mixtures in it takes the form of a thick oily liquid on the bottom of the porcelain cup. When this liquid is rubbed between the fingers, the phosphorous is oxidized by the oxygen in the air to phosphorous oxide (III) or phosphorous oxide (V), and is released in the form of white smoke.
In carrying out this experiment, work in a well-ventilated room, and wear gloves and protective glasses.
Warning! Substances of this experiment are toxic and highly dangerous for your health. Do not try this at home. Only under professional supervision.