Hydrogen Balloons


DESCRIPTION:
This demo shows the explosiveness of hydrogen, by igniting a balloon filled with hydrogen.
2H2 (g) + O2 (g) → 2H2O (g)

TOPICS COVERED:
combustion
exothermic reactions
light
chemical change
safety
synthesis reactions
energy transformations

MATERIALS NEEDED:
– balloon filled with hydrogen
– string
– tape
– meter stick or long rod
– boiling stick
– matches

PROCEDURE:
1. Tie the string to the balloon and tape to a lecture table
2. Tape a boiling stick on the end of the meter stick or rod
3. Light the boiling stick
4. Standing as far away as possible, ignite the balloon with the boiling stick

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
This demo is very loud! If doing in a public area, it would be prudent to warn those nearby ahead of time. This demo could be used to discuss safety in handling explosive substances.

SAFETY:
Goggles should be work at all times. Hydrogen is a very explosive gas and should only be handled by a professional. Care should be taken when lighting the balloon to stand as far away as possible, as there is a risk of being burned.

REFERENCES:
Shakhashiri, B.Z. Chemical Demonstrations;  University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, 1983; Vol. 1, pp 107-112.

Handout