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The Exploding Balloon

In this classic classroom demonstration, Calcium Carbide will react with water to produce explosive Acetylene gas and burst a balloon.

Chemicals Required:
Calcium Carbide

1. Squirt 3 to 4 ml of water into a balloon with an eye dropper.

2. Push a piece of Calcium Carbide into the balloon ( the Calcium Carbide piece should be no larger than 5 grams). Make sure to hold the balloon so the Calcium Carbide chunk and water stay in contact. 

3. Tie off the balloon and give it a little time to expand.

4. Tape the balloon to the end of a yardstick and hold it over a lit candle.

5. The balloon explodes.

Calcium Carbide generates Acetylene gas when it comes in contact with water. As the gas is formed it slowly inflates the balloon.

Calcium Carbide and water is what was used to produce light in old miner's lamps before battery powered flashlights were popular.