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Ancient alchemy in the classroom: a honey-based, deflagrating pyrotechnic


Wolfenden, AV and Kilah, NL, Ancient alchemy in the classroom: a honey-based, deflagrating pyrotechnic, Journal of Chemical Education, 95, (8) pp. 1350-1353. ISSN 0021-9584 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc

DOI: doi:10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00978


A simple, honey-based pyrotechnic demonstration is presented. The demonstration has been derived from alchemical writings, and highlights the importance of alchemical preparations on the development of gunpowder, chemistry, and the scientific method. The demonstration involves the combustion of mixtures of honey, potassium nitrate, and sulfur which were observed to burn with brilliant flame, heat, smoke, and sound. The combustion was rapid, visually attractive, and surprising to chemist and non-specialist viewer alike.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:honey, alchemy, deflagration, demonstration
Research Division:Chemical Sciences
Research Group:Physical chemistry
Research Field:Chemical thermodynamics and energetics
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teaching and instruction technologies
UTAS Author:Wolfenden, AV (Mr Adrian Wolfenden)
UTAS Author:Kilah, NL (Dr Nathan Kilah)
ID Code:128385
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE150100263)
Deposited By:Chemistry
Deposited On:2018-09-17
Last Modified:2019-03-06

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