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The ‘whoosh’ bottle demonstration

Description

A mixture of alcohol and air in a large polycarbonate bottle is ignited. The resulting rapid combustion reaction, often accompanied by a dramatic ‘whoosh’ sound and flames, demonstrates the large amount of energy released in the combustion of alcohols.

Type of Activity

:
demonstration

Audience

:
Teacher

Age Group

:
11 to 18 years

Credits

:
This is an experiment from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
the-whoosh-bottle-demonst...



Apparatus Chemicals

Eye protection

Reaction vessel, 1 or more (Note 1)

Rubber stopper or plastic cap (to fit the reaction vessel)

Beaker (250 cm3), 1 for each alcohol used

Wooden splints, as needed (Note 2)

Meter rule

One or more of the following alcohols, 40 cm3 of each one used:

Methanol (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, TOXIC)

Ethanol (IDA, or Industrial Denatured Alcohol) (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, HARMFUL)

Propan-1-ol (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, IRRITANT)

Propan-2-ol (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, IRRITANT)

Refer to Health & Safety and Technical notes section below for additional information.

 




Schools which are unsure of the password should phone CLEAPSS on 01895 251496. Teachers should also, of course, consult their own employer's Risk Assessment.




Page last updated October 2015

A mixture of alcohol and air in a large polycarbonate bottle is ignited. The resulting rapid combustion reaction, often accompanied by a dramatic ‘whoosh’ sound and flames, demonstrates the large amount of energy released in the combustion of alcohols.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This is a resource from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry. This collection of over 200 practical activities demonstrates a wide range of chemical concepts and processes. Each activity contains comprehensive information for teachers and technicians, including full technical notes and step-by-step procedures. Practical Chemistry activities accompany Practical Physics and Practical Biology.

The experiment is also part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Continuing Professional Development course: Chemistry for non-specialists