How to Make a Green Flame

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Introduction: How to Make a Green Flame

About: I am a recent recipient of a BS in Computer Science. Currently working for an eDiscovery company as a web repository technician (hosting, searching and helping attorneys to process their electronic data) but...
There are a multitude of ways to create green flames this is meerly one of them. I like this one because the chemicals required are really easy to get a hold of. First here's a video of it in action:

and at night . . .

The orange color you see near the middle is actually the match itself burning not the solution . . .if i hadn't dropped it in it would have been pure green.

Step 1: Gather Materials

This is actually incredibly easy to do . . . .you'll need:
  • Boric Acid: commonly sold as roach killer at stores like home depot this large bottle cost about $6 and has enough for several hundred fires
  • Methanol: WARNING!!!! this stuff is extraordinarily dangerous . . . .if you inhale its fumes, drink it, or absorb it through your skin it could kill you and if it doesn't do that you'll probably be blind. . . .use extreme caution!!! You can buy it under the guise of "Heet" or gas line antifreeze from Walmart or any other store selling car equipment and chemicals.
*a ceramic container to burn stuff in . . .needs to be something that can take a great deal of heat.
As you'll be dealing with an alchohol fire it's important to exercise appropriate caution . . .it's extremely flammable.

Step 2: Mix

Strap on a face shield and an apron and take your chemicals outside away from anything flammable.

Pour about a teaspoon of your boric acid into the bottom of your container.

Carefully unscrew the cap of the Heet and make sure not to breathe in the fumes. Pour a few teaspoons on top of the boric acid.

Stir carefully so you don't spill anything.

You're now ready for some entertaining fire!

Step 3: Light!

Light a match(I had a match stick left over from some matchstick rockets) and carefully drop it into the solution. If you've got long matches you can simply touch the burning match to the solution and retrieve it. This will ensure you don't get any yellows or oranges . . .I think those make it kinda interesting but that's just a matter of personal taste.

WARNING::: the fumes created by the mixture before you light it are also flammable. Do not under any circumstances attempt to light this simply with a bic or other cigarette lighter . . .

If you do this at night it's even cooler.

Sit back and enjoy some colorful fire!

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    57 Comments

    WARNING! EXTREMLY TOXIC! if you didnt know this, than your luky im here. every time a fire is not normal color (a yellow, red, or blue) it is toxic. like when you burn cds, you see black fire. its toxic! DO NOT INHALE! YOU CAN GET LUNG DISEASES!!!

    19 replies

    I've been thinking and researching this since you made this comment off and on (between my final semester at the university a trip to Europe a new job as a computer analyst, and a whole host of other things my free time is quite a precious commodity) and despite your having witnessed it whilst camping I still cannot find any science to back up a black flame (and unfortunately I've no cd's I'm willing to burn at the moment) . . . flames are visible due to burning gasses and particles releasing energy in the form of heat and light. Light's got a broad spectrum ranging from purple to red and combination of these allow us to see colors not necessarily in the spectrum (by combined/interfering wavelengths eg pink) In terms of light (since the "color" black has different science associated with it), black is what we'd see in the absence of visible light so for you to be able to see a black flame something that is emitting no light has to emit light. ??? I still have to try burning a CD at some point but unless you saw a very deep purple that appeared black when compared to the surrounding flames I think your eyes were playing tricks on you . . .

    Ive been thinking about this for a while now. You know how heat can "bend" light... Like how when its hot outside, when you look at something in the distance, it looks all wavy... Maybe I was black Because My vision was bent ... i might have seen the sky... like a mirage... or however you spell it. IDK.

    potentially! . . .perhaps more experiments are warranted . . .

    They have black lights! doesnt that mean that black can be a light?

    blacklights emit UV light which is technicaly a shade of purple though it's at a wavelength we can't see

    if it was dark purple, it was really dark. it was night, and i was tired. my mind might have made it seem black, but i know it was a very dark color.

    lies, two example of non toxic coloured flames are oxidized castor sugar and coppor cabonate, both only release co2 and yet produce red and green flames, unless of course you meant that all fires were toxic, not just coloured fires

    flame itself can be toxic, like if yoru stupid and you put it inside a sealed room, andyou dide of lack of oxygen and its the fumes burning plastic is toxic

    you wouldnt die of lack of oxygen, just from the carbon dioxide fire emits....

    Carbon dioxide? I think you mean carbon monoxide. You exhale carbon dioxide, it's not poisonous.

    @ dodo91, @ sspence: Fire consumes oxygen at a rapid rate, so that's the first concern in a sealed environment. Typical fire types emit both O and O2, and both are harmful or fatal in the right concentrations, especially in the hypothetical sealed room mentioned. Carbon Monoxide is fatal at 10,000 ppm exposure within 1 minute, and Carbon Dioxide is fatal at 70% concentration within several minutes. http://www.maiif.net/pdf/fire_chapter1.pdf (page 7/10) @ Kaelessin (author): I like this idea! I believe copper burns green as well, but this can be used in many ways metal couldn't. Thanks! Also, something in certain inks makes a blue flame...I used to know what it was.

    Is that true? Burning cd's makes a black flame?

    yes. ive done it at a boy scout campout. we went to lake mead for wakeboarding and tubing. we were going to sleep soon. i found a Hanna montana cd floating in the water. i picked it up, and tossed it in the fire. i put it on a stick to see it. it melts, and puts out a small blask flame on the disk.

    LOL!! We need to destroy all of the hannah montana cds!

    why dont you scratch off that shiny stuff and just burn that, less toxic (no plastic), hooray!! that is what makes the black flame. is it possible to get a really weird colourd flame by just throwing random things that arent meant to be burned in the fire?

    Throwing random things that aren't meant to be burned in the fire is what you're supposed to do!!

    full color magazine pages are always exciting! all sorts of colored flames!