How To: Make Black Snake Fireworks With & Without Fire

Make Black Snake Fireworks With & Without Fire

In this video, I'll be showing you how classic black snakes work and how to make them at home. There are actually two methods covered in the video — one that uses fire and one that does not. So just choose the one that fits best for your situation.

Black Snake Version 1 (Fire)

  • powdered sugar
  • sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • lighter fluid or alcohol

Mix together a batch of 4 parts powdered sugar to 1 part baking soda. Add a little fuel to the mixture and ignite.

After the black snake is lit, the firework smokes and creates ash resembling a snake. This happens due to an intumescent reaction. The sodium bicarbonate produces carbon dioxide gas, while the sugar creates carbon containing ash.

Your snake will stay on the ground and will not do any fancy fireworks stuff like emit sparks or flares, and it won't produce any sound, but there will be smoke.

Black Snake Version 2 (No Fire)

  • sulfuric acid (drain cleaner)
  • powdered sugar
  • this experiment should be performed outside or in a fumehood

In a glass beaker or other sturdy canister with sugar lining the bottom, pour in a little sulfuric acid until the sugar is completely covered, then just sit back and watch the reaction. The sugar will change from white to dark brown, then to black carbon.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, so when you remove water from the molecule using the sulfuric acid (an excellent dehydrating agent), you're basically just left with elemental carbon.

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