"Sweet fire" experiment

How to make bicolour flame using sugar and potassium permanganate

Ex­per­i­ments with potas­si­um per­man­ganate are per­haps the most in­ter­est­ing and straight­for­ward, but they are also quite dan­ger­ous. These ex­per­i­ments can in­volve a change of col­or, ex­plo­sions or burn­ing.

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • potas­si­um per­man­ganate;
  • sug­ar;
  • beaker;
  • match­es or lighter.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Mix potas­si­um per­man­ganate and sug­ar in a beaker in a ra­tio of 1:1. Light the mix­ture. The mix­ture burns.

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

Sug­ar does not burn in it­self, but melts. But if it is mixed with potas­si­um per­man­ganate and lit, the mix­ture burns with a yel­low-blue flame. The potas­si­um per­man­ganate, as a strong ox­i­diz­er, ox­i­dizes the sug­ar and it burns.

C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁ + 16KM­nO₄ = 16M­nO₂ + 8K₂­CO₃ + 11H₂O + 4CO₂

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Wear pro­tec­tive gloves and glass­es when con­duct­ing this ex­per­i­ment, and fol­low safe­ty rules for work­ing with fire.

Warn­ing! Sub­stances of this ex­per­i­ment are tox­ic and high­ly dan­ger­ous for your health. Do not try this at home. Only un­der pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion.