Public Release: 

A safer way to demonstrate the 'rainbow flame' in the classroom (video)

American Chemical Society

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2015 -- A chemistry demonstration commonly known as the "rainbow flame" experiment has resulted in a number of serious injuries in classrooms in recent years. The experiment is meant to show how various metal salt solutions can create flames of different colors, but it can be unsafe if teachers use highly flammable solvents like methanol or ethanol in the procedure. To prevent future injuries, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Safety recommends that rainbow flame experiments involving flammable solvents be discontinued immediately. In this new video, Kim Duncan of the ACS Education Division demonstrates a much safer alternative a much safer alternative using the same metal salts dissolved in water (rather than in ethanol or methanol). Watch it here:

Chemical & Engineering News, the newsmagazine of the ACS, has also created an infographic guide for performing experiments or demonstrations involving flames or flammable, reactive, toxic, or corrosive chemicals. See it here:


The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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