How to make fuel from fertilizer and a food additive
A simple way to make a rocket fuel
Observe necessary safety precautions when working with heating elements. Wear protective gloves, eyewear, and a mask. Conduct this experiment in a well-ventilated area.
Reagents and equipment
- 5 g of calcium nitrate tetrahydrate;
- 5 g of potassium hexacyanoferrate(II) trihydrate;
- an aluminum container;
- a gas burner;
- a solid fuel stove;
- a beaker;
- a wooden stick.
Mix 5 g of calcium nitrate tetrahydrate and 5 g of potassium hexacyanoferrate(II) trihydrate in the beaker. Pour this mixture into the aluminum container and place it on the stove. Heat, stirring with the wooden stick, until all the moisture evaporates. Once the mixture cools down, use a blowtorch to ignite it. Observe the resulting pillar of fire, which resembles the flame of a rocket!
Calcium nitrate is often used in agriculture as a fertilizer, and potassium hexacyanoferrate(II) is employed as an anticaking additive in food processing (in table salt, for instance). When these two salts are heated, they dissolve in the water contained in their own crystals, forming a homogeneous mixture. Once ignited, this mixture burns similarly to rocket fuel.
Calcium nitrate oxidizes potassium hexacyanoferrate(II), yielding molecular nitrogen and oxides of iron(III), calcium, potassium, and carbon(IV).
31Ca(NO₃)₂+10K₄[Fe(CN)₆] = 31CaO + 5Fe₂O₃+ 20K₂O+ 61N₂ + 60CO₂