Instructables

Step 1: A little delicate work.

Take a decent-sized tin with a fairly snug lid.

Use a hammer and a nail to punch a hole in the middle of the lid and the bottom of the tin. Use the same hammer to flatten the sharp bits (health and safety, don'tcha know).

Step 2: Just do it!

Use a handy (unlit) bunsen as a delivery tube to give a good dose of methane to the tin (about 20 seconds).

Stand the tin on something that lets air get to the hole underneath (if you don't have a tripod in your laboratory, or you don't have a laboratory of your own, use two bricks side-by-side with a gap between).

Wave a lighter over the top hole. The gas will light.

Watch the flame. As long as you can see the flame, it will just burn like a lamp. Eventually, though, the flame will turn blue, shrink, and disappear down into the tin.

At that point... >>>BANG!<<<
 
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X_D_3_M_17 years ago
ooo yeh my dad has like three blowtorches! didnt they do this on mythbusters though? with pringles?
ilpug X_D_3_M_13 years ago
They did something like this, but with hydrogen and oxygen.
DDDUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDEEEEE
X_D_3_M_17 years ago
Lol isnt methane fart.... hey i dont have a butane thing, do u know how else i can do this?
Kiteman (author)  X_D_3_M_17 years ago
You could fart in the tin? Methane is also mains gas, which is what I used. If you can't pipe mains gas to the tin, then you do really need to buy a blowtorch and use that (unlit) to fill the tin.
you have too much fun with your job...
Kiteman (author)  pyroknowlgdehunter7 years ago
Even more fun when the kids go home and I have the lab to myself!
trebuchet037 years ago
I did this years ago with old Tupperware, butane and a match on a stick :P

How it works:

When you fill the container with gas, you also displace oxygen (from air) required for combustion. Slowly, the gas escapes out of the top hole which can be lighted like a gas lamp. As the gas escaped, oxygen slowly enters the container through the bottom hole until the air/fuel mixture becomes combustible. At this point, Ka-boom :)
They did this on mythbusters with hydrogen and a tube of pringles
you see the one where, just for fun, they bubbled some methane up through soapy waater then lighted the foam?
Kiteman (author)  Vertigo6667 years ago
I've done that, but it's not much of a bang. It's better if you electrolyse water, direct the gases into a plastic bag, then chuck a burning splint at it.
my science teacher did that once, on top of a cupboard full of laptop computers, next to a very large plate-glass window.
no, it's more of a burning thing...
yea i did. it was a like a flaming balloon at the end
You know -- I haven't seen that one :P That's actually one of two things on TV that I watch regularly :P
I did not get this trick to work with butane. Being more dense than air it drops out the bottom, leading to dissapointment... If you did get this to work with butane please give me your spec's
The solution is liquid butane ;) If you fill enough of your container with liquid butane, it will make a mostly closed container (minus too small holes) slightly pressurized as the fuel boils. Light the top. If there's enough pressure, it will light. Because the top is burning, it will create a small convection current inside the container. I used a small flat sandwich container - and I "burped" it. So I could see when the fuel expanded (the lid would pop up -- "un-burp"). It didn't work well for me at first -- it was out of frustration that I stupidly added a lot of liquid fuel :/
CameronSS7 years ago
Great instructable, just curious--What's up with your video synchronization? all of your videos seem to have the audio lagging behind by about three seconds...am I the only one with that problem?
Kiteman (author)  CameronSS7 years ago
I have no idea why, but it happens to all the videos I've uploaded, no matter what PC I watch them on - they're fine right up until I upload them to YouTube. Anybody know a fix for that?
tim_n7 years ago
Safer to use a bit of water inside a tin with no holes in the lid. Less easy to time but the expanding gases still pop the lid off. We do this with coffee tins (the solid metal type) and stick them on the fire at scouts.
Kiteman (author)  tim_n7 years ago
It's no safer that way, in fact. Have you ever seen the results of a boiler explosion? Doing it this way, you can predict exactly when the explosion will happen, because you can watch the flame disappear. Speaking of scouting - I'm part-way through preparing an instructable on missile technology, which will have a lot of the activities I do with our Cub troop, and a couple would count towards the scientist badge. Watch this space.
tim_n Kiteman7 years ago
True, definately not safer in the lab, but if you do it on an open fire (coffee tin with loose lid works best) you get a nice big pop and the lid usually goes about 20 feet in the air! Then again, unopened tins of baked beans work quite well too ;- )
It'd be sweet if there was a group of instructables devoted to the science classroom.
I agree. School could use a lot more de-suckage. ONWARD DIYers! ONWARD!
Kiteman (author) 7 years ago
I've managed to add videos to the last step - with and without a tripod.
Jezza Bear7 years ago
Cool, should I eat the chocolate before hand or does this assist the explosion :-)
Kiteman (author)  Jezza Bear7 years ago
Definitely eat the chocolate - it makes space for more gas.
Taking a few clues from the pictures, I hope my daughter is in your chemistry classes next year:-) It looks like class 7D have fun
Kiteman (author)  Jezza Bear7 years ago
I don't actually teach 7D - they're my tutor group. We also do all three sciences as one, since I teach in one of the UK's last Middle Schools.

Maybe UK readers would like to sign the petition to save it? http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Suffolk-Schools/
Punkguyta7 years ago
I say fill it with gunpowder. Ahh the joys of explosive gases. I burnt all the hair off my arms from a butane explosion.
I think if you added some confetti hearts, or even cut out hearts from flash-paper, it would make it much more love related. Plus, the flash paper would provide some nice Valentine's day oriented rudimentary fireworks =)