01. The Non-Burning £5 Note   Previous PageNext Page
       Apparatus, Chemicals and Method


Bunsen burner
A pair of tongs
A heat proof mat
Three 250 cm beakers


The quantities given are for one demonstration

75 cm of ethanol
A few grams of sodium chloride (common salt)


Before the Demonstration

Prepare some pieces of paper about the size of a £5 note.

Prepare three beakers - one containing about 50 cm of water; the second containing about 50 cm of ethanol; and the third containing a mixture of 25 cm of water mixed with 25 cm of ethanol with a little sodium chloride dissolved in it.

The Demonstration

Soak a piece of paper in water and try to ignite it by holding it with tongs in a yellow Bunsen flame. It will not ignite.

Soak a second piece in ethanol. This will ignite easily. The alcohol will burn and ignite the paper, which will burn away.

Soak a third piece in the alcohol-water mixture and hold it in the Bunsen flame. This time the alcohol will ignite and burn away, but the paper will not.

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