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Thread: creating fire

  1. #1 creating fire 
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    Hello there geniuses. lol

    I'm actually a magician and thinking about doing a fun little science effect where I tear up a piece of paper and hold the pieces together in my fingertips and suddenly the pieces of paper start to burn and you see a flame. I thought maybe there were some chemicals I could put on two places on the paper so that when they touch it would start to burn. Any ideas?

    Someone suggested flash paper but that still requires a spark and burns up instantly, I'm thinking about normal paper which burns slower.


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  3. #2  
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    I am not a chemist but, you are looking for hypergolic chemicals, that is two [or more] chemicals which when combined spontaneosly ignite. There is a beetle called the bombardier beetle which uses this as a defence so google the little buggar and hypergolic and maybe you will get what you want.

    Another possibility is a small tube burning an invisible flame - hydrogen does this and also the fuel used in some classes of motor racing - nascar?

    so maybe you could could have something up your sleeve [pun intended]


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  4. #3  
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    I wouldn't advise the latter, megabrain. He could seriously injure himself.

    Also, something up ones sleeve is not an option for a magician anymore (even though it was a few hundred years ago).
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  5. #4  
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    correct about the up the sleeves part, very astute! What hypergolic chemicals would you all recommend? They'd have to be not too hard to get a hold of.
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  6. #5  
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    Okay, apparently all these are hypergolic chemicals. I assume all these reactions are different. What would you recommend for this? It would have to ignite just when paper touches (as opposed to mixing it in a beaker) and it would have to ignite the paper.

    Peroxide and Ammonia (+nitric acid?)
    Peroxide and ethanol
    peroxide and hydrazine
    peroxide and kerosene
    peroxide and methyl hydrazine
    nitric acid and analine
    nitric acid and hydrazine
    nitric acid and methyl hydrazine
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  7. #6  
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    Well, the problem is many of the chemicals listed have a very distinct ODOR to worry about. Not good for a magician.

    Thus, forget about things like ammonia (can you say...STINK?!). And I think kerosene has an odor to it as well. I'm not sure, I don't go smelling fuels for old-candle lights.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    I wouldn't advise the latter, megabrain. He could seriously injure himself.

    Also, something up ones sleeve is not an option for a magician anymore (even though it was a few hundred years ago).
    He's a magician I invite him to investigate the possibility - as a magician he should well understand safety - it is an important part of the art - sticking swords into a box containing a young lady whose only armour is well almost just her modesty - has to have safety implications....

    Hoodleedoo,

    As I said I am not a chemist so I cannot advise in depth - It may be that all of these chemicals are too volatile to use - I guess my approach would be to approach a Phd chemist at a university and ask - he may well have a better solution -
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  9. #8  
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    I think the problem you will find is the majority of hypergolic chemicals are strong oxidising agents, therefore very corrosive. It will be quite hard to keep say hydrogen peroxide or nitric acid for extended periods of time, without it corroding the paper or just as likely your hand. Thats not to say there aren't suitable chemicals but I think you'll have a hard time finding them.

    The only idea I had was maybe a (small) pinch of KMnO4 powder which should be relatively uncorrosive dry and a drop of Glycerine. With both there are no problems with volatility and odor, but the reaction is delayed so it would take some timing to get it right. You could maybe add dilute H2SO4 to the glycerine to speed up the reaction, via formation of small amounts of Mn2O7, but this in itself would be dangerous if you got it wrong and could result in some nasty burns. Coincedentally I have a video of my own uploaded showing Mn2O7 igniting various substances, which shows how reactive it is, especially with paper. see... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrcwO7C4vsI

    I think unless your willing to use thick rubber gloves and safety glasses on stage, I would keep to flash paper like most magicians do. The magic is in concealing the igniter not just the chemistry.
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  10. #9  
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    Or perhaps as a magician he could rustle something up!
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  11. #10  
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    i would not advise using KMnO4 powder coz it's coloured so u'll hav hard time hiding it.... also u'll need to make sure it burns ur paper instead of ur hand... that'll require some trick to it.
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  12. #11  
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    Why not cover your hands in a fairly reactive group one chemical then run up and down on the spot to make you sweat ?

    NO - DONT DO IT !! - I WAS JOKING !!
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins
    Why not cover your hands in a fairly reactive group one chemical then run up and down on the spot to make you sweat ?

    NO - DONT DO IT !! - I WAS JOKING !!
    good idea Zelos, i suggest Fracium or Caecium
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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  14. #13 Thanks 
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Thanks, the name is Leo though; (you blind old fart)
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  15. #14  
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    hey i'm not blind or a fart, it's just zelos that normally comes up with the hair-brained scemes
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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  16. #15 aaaahh 
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    I see you didnt deny the "old" part. The truth comes out at last eh? :wink:

    Where are you from by the way ? What is your nationality ? What type of buddhist are you ?

    (I ask because my wife is shinto / zen buddhist)
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  17. #16  
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    for the record i am not old, i am 15, i live in Britain, Sheffield. I am british and i am born and bred a Tyke (Yorkshireman) and i am a Zen buddhist
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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  18. #17  
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    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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