1. Education

Video:Handheld Fireballs Chemistry Experiment

with Anne Marie Helmenstine

All fire is not created equal! If you apply a little chemistry know-how, you can make a fireball cool enough to hold in your hand. See how it's done, then try this simple fire project yourself.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Education Videos
  • Chemistry Videos

Transcript:Handheld Fireballs Chemistry Experiment

Hi, I'm Dr. Anne Helmenstine for About.com. I'm going to show you how to play with fire, without getting burned.

The Chemistry Trick Behind Handheld Fireballs

These handheld fireballs are extremely easy to make, but you need a special flame to avoid getting burned. The fireball must be made out of a material that won't catch on fire at low temperatures. Cotton or wool work best, like a piece of old cotton t-shirt.

You also need a fuel that produces a flame that will be cool enough to touch. You can use naphtha, which is a common lighter fluid or you can use kerosene.

Make a Fireball

Make your fireball by rolling a 2 inch by 6 inch strip of fabric into a tight ball. Secure the ball with cotton thread. Apply the fuel to the fireball, light it, and that's it! Just blow the fireball out when you are finished and use it again and again.

Handing the Fire and Fireball Safety

You may be wondering how to handle the fireball without getting burned. The hottest part of the fireball is above the flame, so it is easiest to set the fireball on your hand to light it or else to light the fireball on a fireproof surface and then pick it up. Remember, this is fire, so treat it with respect. Keep the fireball away from its fuel and any other flammable materials and be sure the flame is completely extinguished when you are finished.

I hope you enjoyed this easy fire chemistry project. You can find more projects by visiting me on the Web at About.com. Thanks for watching!

Caution: Adult supervision recommended.
About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.