“Hydrogen rocket” experiment

How to make a rocket with a tin can and zinc

Can a chemist launch a rock­et with the help of just two reagents?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Wear pro­tec­tive gloves and glass­es, and work in a well-ven­ti­lat­ed room

Warn­ing! Do not try this at home. Only un­der pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion.

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • zinc;
  • 10% hy­drochlo­ric acid;
  • test tube with gas pipe;
  • con­i­cal flask;
  • open tin can;
  • awl;
  • match­es;
  • fun­nel.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Make a hole in the can with the awl and close it with a piece of match. Then sprin­kle zinc into the flask, pour hy­drochlo­ric acid and seal the test tube with the gas pipe. Place the end of the pipe un­der the can and fill the can with gas for 10 min­utes. Take out the match and ig­nite the hole. The can flies up with a dis­tinc­tive bang, like a rock­et!

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

Zinc re­acts with hy­drochlo­ric acid, and hy­dro­gen gas and zinc chlo­ride forms. Hy­dro­gen is a gas with no col­or or smell, and is lighter than air. In air it eas­i­ly com­busts with an ex­plo­sion, and the prod­uct of com­bus­tion is wa­ter.

Zn + 2HCl → Zn­Cl₂ +H₂

2H₂ + O₂ → 2H₂O