Whoosh Bottles - How to!

Nothing gets students more excited about chemistry than a fun and visual practical. This Chemistry Week, why not demonstrate this to your class to get Chemistry Week off to a bang.

What will you need?

  • A larger Polycarbonate vessel, an old water dispenser bottle is ideal.
  • A stopper for the bottle
  • A beaker 250cm3
  • Wooden Splints 
  • Metre Rule
  • Eye protection


Chemicals ( one of)



Propane 1 and 2


How to

  • Take 40cm3 of your preferred alcohol into a beaker and add the alcohol to your chosen experiment vessel
  • Add the stopper to the top and roll the alcohol around the vessel to ensure it’s fully coated
  • Drain the excess alcohol into a separate beaker and remove from the experiment area to prevent accidental ignition
  • Stand the vessel behind a safety screen. Then light the splint attached to the meter rule
  • Do not drop the splint in, simply ignite the vapour above the vessel entrance and you will then get the distinctive whoosh and flame


Please note that this will require an additional risk assessment, should you be unsure please contact CLEAPPS before you proceed on 01895 251496

Why does this happen?

The experiment shows how much energy is stored within a small quantity of fuel. The distinctive ‘whoosh’ and flame offers an audio and visual guide to demonstrate energy release from the fuel.