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
Why can you set a one dollar bill on fire but it does not burn if you soak it first in a alcohol solution?
Answer 1:

This experiment is often used by teachers to get students interested in science. They set a shirt or a dollar bill on fire without burning it. And it works best if you use a 50% alcohol solution (methanol or ethanol).
The trick works because the volatile alcohol catches on fire just above the rest of the liquid. More and more alcohol is drawn out of the liquid as it burns, leaving behind water which keeps the t-shirt or money wet and unaffected by the fire.


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