Each of these fireflies is a small chemical flashlight!
Warning! Observe safety rules when working with fire.
- acetone nail polisher;
- copper wire;
- glass bottle with cap.
Pour some nail polish remover into a bottle, making sure to close the bottle afterwards. Fold some copper wire into a star. Heat it red hot with a lighter, make sure to put the lighter out, then open the bottle and insert the star – it starts glowing like a firefly!
Nail polish remover contains acetone, which evaporates easily. Atmospheric oxygen oxidizes the acetone vapor on the heated copper’s surface. This process yields heat, which makes copper red-hot again – causing it to start glowing.
Play with atoms and molecules with the MEL Chemistry subscription!