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What is this incredibly hot liquid called? Answered

Well me and my friend added KNO3 and sugar to a tin coffee mix container to see the reaction.
So it all went well (smoke shot all around and stuff the can turned red hot. ) but when I got to the can after I noticed it was still smoking a little I noticed that there was a tan-ish colored fluid at the bottom of the can that seemed to be the source of the smoke. Out of curiosity I dropped the dead match And I was surprised to see that it had lit on fire and completely disintegrated in less than 5 seconds. Anything I put in it (Paper cup plastic bottle) was burned and dissolved. It wasn't until I poured cold water in(after which boiled instantly) was i able to dump the liquid into the ground.

So my question is what was that stuff?


I'm going to guess that liquid you saw was mostly molten KNO3.

Something to try is heating dry KNO3 to its melting point in a crucible, or steel can.  Then see if this liquid has the same properties as the stuff you remember seeing. That is, will it consume wooden sticks, paper cups, plastic, etc?

Part of the reason I'm guessing molten KNO3 is the Wikipedia article said its melting point (at 1 atmosphere) was just 334 C.  So it can be liquid without being glowing red/orange hot. See:

Also, this should go without saying, but remember to wear your safety glasses, and try to avoid spilling any on yourself.  If it burns through wood and plastic, it probably burns through human flesh too.

. Sucrose is the main ingredient in table sugar. It's formula is C12H22O11. Add KNO3 and balance.

It's probably a pool of molten excess sucrose, contaminated with potassium carbonate and potassium sulphate (which would have raised the melting point), kept molten by the thermal bulk of the can.

10 KNO3 + 3 S + 8 C → 2 K2CO3 + 3 K2SO4 + 6 CO2 + 5 N2.

Where did the sulfur come from? Maybe it came from the Wikipedia article on gunpowder?

I hate to pick nits, but I don't think this coffee can reaction had any sulfur in it.  Therefore I don't expect to see any sulfur (sulfides, sulfates, etc) in the products.  Potassium carbonate as a product seems believable though.

You are, of course, correct. I was quoting the full gunpowder reaction, which includes sulphur in the starting mixture.