Behold the Whoosh Bottle, Science's Coolest Fire Experiment - Atlas Obscura
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Behold the Whoosh Bottle, Science’s Coolest Fire Experiment

A corner of YouTube dedicates itself to videos of these bottles being set ablaze.

Behold, the whoosh bottle. You may have seen it before, in a science classroom, since it’s a popular experiment designed to demonstrate the large amount of chemical energy produced in the combustion of alcohols. If you have not, thankfully there is a corner of YouTube dedicated to videos of whoosh bottles being set ablaze. 

The bottles contain a mixture of air and alcohol, and the varying concentrations of alcohol determine the speed and intensity of the reaction. The vessels themselves must be made of polycarbonate; any other type of material could be prone to combustion or explosion, and could result in dangerous shrapnel flying everywhere.

If your initial thought is, “Let’s get drunk and try this in the office,” first of all, same. Secondly, please don’t actually try this at home. The whoosh bottle experiment is, needless to say, very dangerous and should only be carried out in a carefully controlled laboratory environment.

Here is a particularly feisty whoosh bottle, whose loud flame burns bright and orange and almost three feet high.

This video shows three whoosh bottles of differing concentrations of alcohol, producing three different kinds of burns. Who knew third-period chemistry could be this much fun?

The first whoosh that this guy gets with his giant whoosh bottle is underwhelming, but the one he manages at around the 1:30 mark is maybe the most satisfying whoosh you’ll ever hear.

These guys decided to take the Whoosh Bottle™ and step things up a notch. Instead of igniting a whoosh bottle filled with alcohol and air, they ignite a whoosh bottle filled with pure oxygen and gas. You know, the kind you fill a car up with. The ensuing whoosh is… well, to say the least, extreme.

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