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Exploding Balloons Science Project

Fiery Explosions Using Nonflammable Materials

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Use a long torch or candle attached to a meter stick to explode the balloon.

Use a long torch or candle attached to a meter stick to explode the balloon.

Anne Helmenstine

I'm sure you are well aware you can fill a balloon with a flammable gas, ignite it and cause it to explode. How about something a little less dangerous? Here's a quick and easy project you can try that allows you to produce a fireball, without a whole lot of risk to yourself, others or property. Here's what you do:

Exploding Balloon Materials

You will need small balloons and one or more of the following powders:
  • corn starch
  • non-dairy creamer
  • powdered sugar
  • powdered milk
  • lycopodium powder
There are other powders that will work, but these are non-toxic and not ordinarily flammable.

Make Exploding Balloons

  1. Add about a teaspoon of any of these powders to your balloon. If you have a small funnel, that will greatly simplify things. Otherwise, crease a sheet of paper and use it to deliver the powder into the balloon.

     

  2. Blow up the balloon and tie it off. You can do this the old-fashioned way or you can use compressed air. If you are a daredevil you can use oxygen or hydrogen, but that defeats the purpose of my nice safe project.

     

  3. Place the balloon some distance away from you and use a lighter or candle on a meter stick to pop it and ignite the powder.
If you have any tips, tricks or suggestions for improving this project, please post a reply.

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