UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What will happen if you light Citric Acid in the powdered form on fire or expose to extreme heat? Josie
Answer 1:

Citric acid is an organic compound; it will burn. I do not know how, specifically, it will combust, or if it will combust completely or not at moderately high heat, but it burns.

Answer 2:

Citric acid can actually exist in two different powdered forms, depending on how it is prepared- either anhydrous (without water) ormono-hydrate (with some amount of water trapped in the powder with the citric acid molecules). Citric acid is a weak, carboxylate acid. If you heat powdered citric acid to its melting temperature of 153degrees Celsius / 307 degrees Fahrenheit, then the powder will liquefy into a clear or brownish liquid (as additional heat is absorbed) and will burn.If you heat it slightly hotter, to 175 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which is what a sustained fire would do, it will spontaneously decompose-- that is, break down into smaller molecules including water and carbon dioxide (CO2). These smaller molecules will be very hot, and will become gasses- steam and CO2 in the air, which means that it will expand very quickly, i.e. it may explode. Be careful!

Answer 3:

Citric acid is an organic compound made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, so it should burn like any other organic substance. Please be careful.


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use