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Do you want to set ice on fire? Let's do it!

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This is very cool. Fire and ice are not just interesting things to pair in the titles of fantasy books. They can actually go together, with ice acting as a fuel source for fire.

Want to know what to use to light your Song of Ice and Fire themed party? How about some actual flaming ice to light things up! A little chemistry magic and you can use ice as a fuel source for fire. Just grab some calcium carbide, some ice, and some fire-proof dishes that you can put them both into. Layer the calcium carbide on the bottom and then put the ice on top of that. Wait a bit, throw in a match, and you'll see the entire thing go up in flame.


It's not technically the ice that's on fire. The ice is just providing the fuel. Calcium carbide consists of two carbon atoms stuck onto a calcium atom. Add that to liquid water (H2O) and the carbon atoms will grab hold of the two hydrogen atoms and produce C2H2, or acetylene gas. This is the gas that's the fuel in many a welding torch. When you toss in the match the gas will fire up.

Practically speaking, of course, this kind of thing isn't suited to parties. It would take a lot of testing in a lot of configurations to make the fire both steady and safe. But it is an interesting reaction that, once fire is added, sustains itself. The fire melts more ice, which drips more water onto the calcium carbide, which lets off more gas to make more fire.


Via Popsci and Thirst for Science.