Whoosh Bottle - Rapid Combustion

The "Whoosh Bottle" experiment demonstrates in a very dramatic way how a large amount of chemical energy can be released from a very small quantity of fuel.


*  1 clean 1-gallon plastic milk container with lid
*  5 Tbsp Rubbing Alcohol
*  Long lighter
*  Dark room


1.  Pour the alcohol into a clean container.
2.  Put the lid on and shake the container for about 30 seconds.
3.  Hold the container upright and remove the lid for a few seconds.
4.  Replace the lid and shake for another 30 seconds.
5.  Remove the lid and pour the alcohol back into the alcohol bottle.
6.  Place the container in the center of a sturdy table (or on the floor).
7.  Have everyone stand back while an adult removes the lid.
8.  An adult should ignite the lighter and place the flame over the mouth of the container.

A Closer Look

You see a bluish flame shoot out and you hear a "swoosh".  You have vaporized the alcohol, or, turned it from a liquid to a gas.  The flame ignites the vapors, causing an explosion.  In an automobile's engine, the heat and pressure from a controlled explosion of gasoline act directly on the moving parts of an engine giving it power to move the vehicle.


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