- 10ml or just under 1/2 ounce of methanol (Use "HEET" in the Yellow Bottle Sold at Auto Parts Stores)
- Clear Packaging Tape (wrap tape around the bottle several times at top, middle, and, bottom as safety precaution)
- Safety Goggles (always practice safe science!)
Warning - Adult Supervision Required !
Watch Video: Whoosh Bottle Experiment
Procedure Whoosh Bottle Experiment:
1. Add Methanol to bottle. Methanol can be hard to obtain. You can buy a product called "HEET" from your local auto parts store for about $5 which is roughly 98% methanol.
2. Immediately cover bottle with the lid to prevent the gas from escaping.
3. Roll the Methanol around inside the bottle coating the walls with Methanol.
4. Get your matches out and ready to strike.
5. Turn the lights off.
6. Remove lid from top of bottle and quickly… very quickly...
7. Throw the lit match in. Make sure to stay as far back as possible and bail quickly after throwing the match in the bottle.
8. Listen for the WHOOSH sound and sit back and enjoy the show of dancing flames. 9. Very quickly after the flame goes out put the plastic lid back onto the bottle. Watch the bottle contract upon itself as the oxygen inside the bottle is used up.
10. Remove the lid once again and watch the bottle spring back to it's normal shape and form.
The Science Behind Whoosh Bottle Experiment: The bottle begins full of air and oxygen. After we put the Methanol in the bottle it becomes volatile and evaporates rapidly. The liquid Methanol becomes Methanol vapor as we swirl it around the bottle. As it evaporates, a mix of air / oxygen and methanol is left inside the bottle. By adding a flame in the form of a match, we are adding heat energy. This causes a combustible chemical reaction to occur between the oxygen and another Methanol vapor). The result is an exothermic reaction (a reaction in which heat is released). When you hear the sound of the "Whoosh" most of the oxygen has been used up and a jet of flame shoots up from the bottle neck . After which you may see a flame dance around inside the bottle and pulse for a few seconds. This happens due to left over methanol remaining in the bottle. However most the oxygen has been used up, so fresh oxygen is sucked down into the bottle from outside which re-ignites the methanol vapor again. This repeats until the vapor is gone. After the experiment you will notice the bottle has liquid in the bottom. This is carbon dioxide and water which is produced as a by-product of the reaction.
The experiment is not immediately repeatable by pouring in more Methanol and swirling. It does not work well again immediately after because the bottle contains the carbon dioxide by-product as opposed to the oxygen we began with. To do it again let the bottle completely dry and air out first. Now round up some responsible friends and try the Whoosh Bottle Experiment.