Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
In this activity you can set fire to a £5 note without damaging it, all thanks to the properties of liquids.
Year groups: 7-9 (ages 11-14)
To see how liquids in a solution can have different properties and react differently, i.e. whether or not they combust.
Download student activity sheet [pdf]
Because alcohol and fire are involved with this experiment there are a number of health and safety considerations:
" If you are feeling very confident this is a great lesson starter if you use a higher denomination note. This trick can also be done with an exam paper to celebrate the end of National Tests!" Experiment with different alcohols or add substances to see if they alter the colour of the flame (you may want to use paper instead of a bank note during this experimentation)." Try with other objects soaked in the solution (we've tested it on plastic, cloth and paper, but make your own careful tests before using anything of value).
Fractional distillation is used in the petrochemical industry to refine crude oil, among other applications. However, secondary students will most often come across it in classroom experiments.
Fractional distillation is used in the petrochemical industry