Note: This activity involves fire and should only be conducted by an individual who is trained in handing fire and with a fire extinguisher handy. Kids should be kept back. Best for a middle school or high school classroom. It is strongly suggested that a heavy weight paper replace the dollar bill.
Money on Fire
– US dollar bill : 1 or 2
-70% Isopropyl alcohol – 90mL
– Metal tongs
– Lighter or matches
– 250mL beaker
For this particular activity, it is strongly suggested to be conducted by a teacher experienced with chemistry/ fire.
- Create water-alcohol mixture: 3 ounces (90mL) of TAYI isopropyl alcohol and 1 ounce (30mL) water – 3:1 ratio. Stir well.
2. Using tongs, dip dollar bill into the liquid mixture – make sure bill is completely soaked.
3. Remove bill, move mixture to the side (safety purposes)
4. Light the bottom of the dollar bill on fire – the mixture will burn (dollar will appear to be burning.)
5. Allow bill material to burn until completion – approximately 25 seconds.
6. Immediately after flame has stopped, dollar bill will be cool to the touch – only water remains.
1) What factors do you believe influence this activity and the fact that the dollar bill did not burn? How could you design an experiment that could test whether those factors are important or not?
2) What do you believe would happen if you tried to use pure isopropyl alcohol in this activity?
Next Generation Science Standards
Properties of materials can be observed, measured, and predicted.
Materials come in different forms (states), including solids, liquids, and gases.
Energy and matter have multiple forms and can be changed from one form to another.
Heat moves in a predictable flow from warmer objects to cooler objects until all the objects are at the same temperature.