Fire & Combustion Chemistry
A flame test is a chemistry procedure that is used to test for the presence of metal ions. The emission spectrum of each element produces a characteristic flame color. This photo gallery shows representative flame tests for common metal ions.
What is the State of Matter of Fire?
What is the state of matter of fire or flame? Is it a liquid, solid, or gas? Learn the answer to this question and get information about the chemistry of fire.
Fire & Flames Photo Gallery
Fire and flames are the visible result of combustion. Usually they consist of light and hot gases. Here's a look at some fire, flames, and pyrotechnics.
Black Powder or Gunpowder
Black powder is used as a propellant for bullets, as well as for fireworks and rocketry. Use these instructions for history, not practical application!
Green Fire Instructions
It's easy to make brilliant green fire. This cool chemistry project only takes two household chemicals.
Can a Candle Burn in Zero Gravity?
Can a candle burn in the absence of gravity? Here's the answer to this frequently asked question about fire.
Chemistry of Firework Colors
Fireworks combine art and science. This article focuses on the chemistry behind firework colors, including the mechanisms of color production and a table listing colorants. There are links to websites about fireworks - some with instructions for making your own!
Colored Smoke Recipes
Colored smoke is easy to make and requires few ingredients. Here's a list of some colored smoke formulations to try.
Classic Chemical Volcano
Here are the instructions for making the classic chemical volcano. This demonstration uses ammonium dichromate to produce 'Vesuvius fire', with glowing sparks and a cone of deep green ash.
Fire Breathing Video Tutorial
Learn how to breathe fire safely using a non-toxic kitchen ingredient.
Colored Fire Spray Bottles
You can spritz a flame with chemicals to change the color of the fire. Colored fire spray bottles are easy to prepare and use common chemicals.
Firework Periodic Table
Use this special periodic table to find out what elements are found in fireworks and how they are used. Just click on an element to learn more.
This is a table of flame temperatures for common fuels.
How Do Sparklers Work?
This type of firework produces a cascade of fiery sparks. Learn about the chemistry behind the sparks or find formulae to make your own!
How Do Smoke Detectors Work?
Find out how ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors work. Then determine which type is better for your needs. Links are supplied to give you more information about fire safety, tips for installing a smoke detector, and answers to common smoke detector questions.
History of Matches
Fire may have been around since the dawn of civilization, but matches are a fairly recent invention. Learn about the somewhat gruesome history of the chemical or friction match and how antimony and phosphorus are used to start fire.
Qualitative Analysis - Bead Tests
The borax, microcosmic salt, or sodium carbonate bead test may be used to help identify unknown metals. Learn how to perform and interpret the results of this handy analytical test.
Qualitative Analysis - Flame Tests
The flame test is a quick low-tech method of identifying an element by the color of light it yields in a flame. Learn how to perform this test and to interpret the results.
What Is the Difference Between Flammable and Inflammable?
Flammable and inflammable are two words that are commonly confusing. Learn what flammable and inflammable mean and whether they are synonyms or antonyms.
A flame test is an easy experimental technique used to help identify a metal or ionic salt based on its emission spectrum when it is heated in a gas flame. Here's how to perfom a flame test and interpret the results of the test.
Smoking Fingers Trick
Make your fingers smoke when you rub them together and glow in the dark. All you need is a matchbox and a way to burn the striker portion.
What Is Fire Made Of?
Here is an explanation of what fire is made of.
History of Fireworks
Fireworks are a traditional part of most Independence Day and New Year's celebrations. Learn about the invention of fireworks and the history behind how fireworks are used.
You Might Be a Pyro If...
Pyromaniacs or pyros are people who have a fascination with fire, which usually involves playing with fire or setting fires. Are you a pyro? How would you know? Well, here are some ways you might be able to tell. You might be a pyro if...
How Do Safety Matches Work?
Learn about how safety matches work and why they are considered 'safe'.
Are You a Pyro? - Quiz
Are you a pyro? Take the quiz and find out whether you are a pyromaniac or just really like fire!
How Do Trick Birthday Candles Work?
You blow them out, but these candles re-light themselves. Magic? No, it's simple chemistry!
How Fireworks Work
Firecrackers, sparklers, and aerial fireworks are all examples of fireworks. Here's a look at the different types of fireworks and an explanation of how they work.
How To Color Fire
Have you ever wanted to color fire? Here are simple, nontechnical instructions for making your own colored flames. Add extra interest to your fireplace or campfire!
Instant Fire Chemistry Demonstration
Learn how to perform the instant fire chemistry demonstration in which potassium chlorate and sugar are reacted to produce an incredible purple flame and a lot of smoke.
If ordinary fire just doesn't do it for you, why not kick it up a notch by making it into orange fire? It's easy to make orange flames. Here's what you do.
Ultimate Colored Smoke Bomb
Make a smoke bomb that billows clouds of brightly colored smoke. This project is easy and safe enough to at home. Adult supervision is required.
What Is the Most Flammable Chemical?
If something is flammable, that means it is capable of catching on fire. Have you ever wondered what material burns the best? Here's a look at the most flammable chemical.
Red Fire Instructions
Red fire is easy to produce. This is a classic color for sparklers and fireworks as well as holiday parties. It would also be a cheery coloration for a campfire or fireplace.
This is a look at the chemical composition of wood smoke, according to EPA data on wood combustion.
Learn how to make your own sparklers, for Independence Day or New Years Day fun. Use your understanding of chemistry to color the sparks.
Smoke Bomb Instructions
You can easily make a smoke bomb using inexpensive materials to produce safe smoke.
How the Olympic Torch Works
Quite a lot of technology goes into the flame for the Olympic Torch. Here's a look at how the Olympic Torch works and the fuel used to produce the flame.
It's very simple to make violet or purple fire. All you need are two easy-to-find ingredients.
Most flames from candles or wood burning fire are yellow, but you can color a blue flame so that it will become yellow. Here's what you do.
Fire in Space
See how differently fire in the microgravity environment of space looks compared with fire on Earth.