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Uploaded on Dec 12, 2011
Use common household chemicals to make a colored fire rainbow. This is an easy home chemistry project that yields colorful results. The chemicals I've used are potassium nitrate (salt substitute) for violet, alcohol (hand sanitizer) for blue, boric acid (roach killer) for green, sodium chloride (table salt) for yellow, a mix of salt and strontium nitrate for orange, and strontium nitrate (red emergency flare) for red. Visit chemistry.about.com for a full list of colorants you could use or substitute.
I get asked a lot about the toxicity of smoke from colored fire. These salts don't actually burn in the fire, so the smoke that you get is from the fuel, which in this case is a clean-burning alcohol. These chemicals are generally safe and non-toxic to humans. In high concentrations, they can be toxic to algae, insects and plants, which are the household uses of the chemicals.