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More ways to get Braingle...

Burning Question

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 

Puzzle ID:#29302
Fun:*** (2.88)
Difficulty:*** (2.63)
Category:Science
Submitted By:zonaracerAus*****!
Corrected By:cnmne

 

 

 



How can paper burn without any damage?



Answer

Soak the paper in 50% isopropyl alcohol.

Then, the alcohol burns and the paper does not.

Alcohol molecules do not bond as tightly, so alcohol burns at a lower temperature than does the paper. You can add NaCl (sodium chloride or common table salt) so it will burn with a yellow flame, and make the flame more visible.

Kids: If you try this, have a parent or guardian to help!

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Comments

zonahoboAus*
Mar 24, 2006

I hope you never tried this in your room!! First Teaser!! Wahoo!
jlvsbeksAus*
Mar 24, 2006

That's cool
i'm gonna try it
ttviper**
Mar 24, 2006

You had best believe that I will try this one!!
achnid*us*
Mar 25, 2006

well this sounds like one of those science corner activities in the sunday paper from back home. HEHE including the reminder of adult supervizion LOL
sgtammoAus*
Mar 25, 2006

Is this the voice of experience talking? Another good teaser.
lelrod
Mar 25, 2006

The alcohol burns, not the paper. Poor puzzle. It should read "paper appear to burn"
5600113*
Mar 26, 2006

Very cool!
fem81uken*
Mar 30, 2006

Didnt get it i gotta say but will have fun trying to do it!!
delightful_donu*
Apr 07, 2006

i agree with lelrod the alcohol is actually doing the burning not the paper
zonarita*us*
Apr 11, 2006

I'm glad you listened to some of those lessons I shared when you were growing up. However the trick was not the lesson! I'm glad to see you have your first teaser on site. It is a good one. Keep at it.
irar1792Aus*
Apr 25, 2006

doesn't the paper eventually burn too.
OldChinaHand**
Apr 25, 2006

In accrual terms it's only the alcohol vapors that are burning...still a good teaser.
feste*
Apr 25, 2006

Science 101. And, paper always leaves a trail.
rhmaustin*us*
Apr 25, 2006

Well, I just happened to have s small strip of paper about 1 x 2 inches & some isopropyl alcohol -- need I say more? It's true, the alcohol burned off leaving the paper dry & unburned until about 3/4 of the way through, at which point the edges of the paper began to burn. But I'm willing to believe that in a perfect world, the experiment would have worked perfectly. Bravo! But don't try this at home, boys and girls. I'm 62, so presumably I know what I'm doing. More or less.
coachpisco*
Apr 25, 2006

Thanks for the science lesson.
bradon182001*us*
Apr 25, 2006

Interesting teaser. Sure do hope there aren't any youngsters out that who are going to try this.Save it for class witha controlled conditions kids!!
elshawnoAus*
Apr 25, 2006

that's pretty cool!

I loved it!!!
vmerc
Apr 25, 2006

The Paper doesn't burn. You put that right in the answer. That invalidates the entire teaser.
iteachkidsAus*
Apr 25, 2006

I'm assuming that Zonarita and Zonahobo were supervising when you tried this ... Way to go, ZonaBoy! ... and good job ZonaParents!!!
zaya*
Apr 25, 2006

Weak. No teasing here, either you know it or you don't.
thimblenogginus*
Apr 25, 2006


Even as an English Major the answer was obvious.If you burn the papaer you burn the paper. If you burn the alcohol you burn the alcohol.Not a great teaser. Sorry.
SuellenlynnAca*
Apr 25, 2006

You shouldn't put items like that on a site devoted to jokes and riddles. How many unqualified people are gonna try that, and how many children without proper supervision? Real bone head move there.
cherokeerose*
Apr 25, 2006

i thought it was spend it as in money guess you can tell i did not pay attention in science class
zonarita*us*
Apr 25, 2006

You got a nice honor there as Teaser of the Day! I've been around a lot longer than you and I've never had one yet. Congrats!
banzai*
Apr 25, 2006

i also have the proper "testing" materials and am old enough to know better. thank u for your teaser.
Winner4600*
Apr 25, 2006

easy, i did it a million times in science
youdumbsavage*ru**
Apr 25, 2006

i didnt know, good teaser though!!!
jabdrAus*
Apr 25, 2006

Duh? Very selective audience for this one..and I'm not in it. Congrats on Teaser of Day but hope your next one appears in the science 101 category.
syracuse945*ph*
Apr 25, 2006

nvr tryd this, but it sounz cool, 'speciali w/ salt... ... 1st thot th@ popt 2 mind was sandppr... haha... ... waaaat? u sed "rub", so i thot sandppr... bahaha...

gud 1, tho...

ttviper**
Apr 25, 2006

I thought this was great! I would have worded it as the paper is being exposed to fire, but it works either way.
AckJack*us*
Apr 25, 2006

I didn't have a clue! Good teaser though!
Smart_AlexAph*
Apr 25, 2006

That's a cool fun fact.
patpat553*
Apr 26, 2006

Hated Science in school and still do.
Joeycat
Apr 27, 2006

By soaking the paper in alcohol, the paper isn't really burning -- the alcohol is...
scallioAus*
Apr 27, 2006

Way cool! Whether it's the paper or alcohol burning it, it's still great. Can't wait to try this with my kids this afternoon.

Thanks for the fun trick!
scallioAus*
Apr 27, 2006

The kids loved this! Try it with your kids.


We used 70% alcohol which doesn't quite work as well. Be sure you use the 50%.
mabelrxu*us
Apr 27, 2006

i thought you meant paper as in paper cup...to not burn paper cup, fill about 3/4 of the way with regular water. put on bunsun burner, and water will boil without setting paper on fire...when water boils dry, get the fire extinguisher
tdbrsun*
Apr 27, 2006

good one
hp_lover3Xplus
Apr 27, 2006

I thought it was money...like spending it.....I thought it was a good answer...til the realy answer came up....we haven't learned that in Chemistry yet.....doubt we will...that would be a fun experiment....burning things....tehehe.

I liked the riddle/joke/whatever-you-call-it though.
RRAMMOHAN*in*
Apr 27, 2006

Stumped me!
vlermaAus*
Apr 27, 2006

Being on oxygen 24-7 I'm not allowed to play with fire of any kind so this one kinda left me out in the cold. But stupidly, one night I had a candle burning, and since I don't have enough breath to blow out a candle, took off my canula, also off the hose, and started to use the hose to blow out the candle. "My what a pretty flame, " I thought, and suddenly realized what was taking place. Thankfully I got the oxygen shut off before I did any real damage, but evidentally I didn't have enough O2 going to my brain that night because this was pure stupidity! Nice science lesson, but kids, don't play with fire!
robinmckenzie*gb
Apr 28, 2006

I agree with previous posts. The question asks "How can paper burn..." and the answer states "the paper doesn't burn". Badly worded, IMHO. Wouldn't "How can you set light to paper without it burning?" be better?
tonjawithaj*us*
Apr 28, 2006

love science questions!
Jerrythellamamc*
May 20, 2006

But then, isn't the paper NOT burning...?
ShadowmistAus
Aug 06, 2006

Hehe sounds fun Great job!
vbguy101*us*
Aug 19, 2006

You just said the paper will burn and then you say it's not?

Anyway, I have ethyl. Does it work?
i_luv_2_readAus*
Dec 27, 2006

dude that's cool!
MelkorDCLXVI*us*
Mar 05, 2007

the hint gave it away
bookworm91**
Apr 16, 2007

Excellent. You can achieve the same result by using oil.
Okay people, so this wasn't a spectacularly worded teaser. However, it's not the end of the world and it got the point across.

Perhaps someone should correct this teaser so that it's written as "light fire to" rather than burn.

I give it a thumbs up!
cloughmeAws*
May 03, 2007

Great teaser, but I agree; not clearly written.
coolpainter*
May 03, 2007

You said "BURN PAPER", not alcohol. NG
Trishgal*us*
May 03, 2007

I got it even if it wasn't written perfectly.
kitty728Aus*
May 03, 2007

I'm with Zaha.... wheres the teaser?? But its a good fact anyway......
doeheadAus*
May 03, 2007

The paper will also burn,unless you put the fire out.Poor science question!!!
ShikamaruAus*
May 03, 2007

that makes no sense.
muffinbrittneyAgb*
May 03, 2007

I thought the solution was going to be that an image is burnt onto the paper IE by a copy machine or printer.
hradilv**
May 03, 2007

The paper doesn't burn, like has already been said... Very, very poor!
auntiesisAus*
May 03, 2007

Very good teaser. I didn't have a clue, even with the hint . Again I enjoy the debate , or call it conversation, as much as the teaser. I wouldn't even try this one unsupervised,.
DRIV3R*
May 03, 2007

My 6th grade teacher did that, she covered a peice of paper with alcohol and she burned it right in the classroom
Odessius
May 03, 2007

yes.
as far as I'm concerned that's all I need to know.

I'm sure the braingle guy would find some way to do it.
scallioAus*
May 03, 2007

It's been a year since I first did this science experiment with my kids and they still ask once a month or so to do it again. It's great!
2ndhandroseca*
May 03, 2007


Excellent !!!

It's a tough question to pose. I thought the paper would burn & then not be there, no damage, gone - poof!

I did think of a coating but science class for me is a ways back.

Got me thinking
2ndhandroseca*
May 03, 2007

To Vlerma

I call what happened to you that day a "Brain Glitch" we all have them & I've had a couple of close calls re electricity. These experiences keep us on our toes so to speak.

Take care Rose
Lozie
May 03, 2007

Thought it was good for a first teaser.
zaya*
May 03, 2007

Terrible teaser. The paper's not burning, the alcohol is. Not sure how this one passed inspection.
QrystalAca*
May 03, 2007

Hmm. I'll just say that the "rub" clue made me think the answer was: rub on paper long enough, and your finger will feel "burnt" from the heat of friction. So then, the paper is burning something, which works well with the wording of the puzzle.
extremechemistAen
May 03, 2007

best to use vodka/ any spirit around the 40% mark that way the alcohol burns but the paper remains wet from the abundance of water *chemistry undergrad* not really a brain teaser though
oddreyus*
May 03, 2007

That was a very interesting fact, but i dont think it made a great teaser. Still, thats something for me too do if I ever get bored!
masquerademe235*us*
May 03, 2007

My science teacher put water in a cup and set it over fire, and the paper didn't burn, but that's because the heat transferred and everything... anyway, good teaser!!
mrme*us
May 03, 2007

the alcohol is burning not the paper
grams60Aus*
May 03, 2007


well at least i'm not the only one to miss the boat on this one. Very good teaser and informative also.
Thanks for makeing us think
sagarat*
May 03, 2007

Nice teaser, but I think the wording is off. the definition of butn is to be consumed by flames, which the paper is not.

A better question would of been "How can you set a piece of paper on fire without damage"
battle000111cn
May 03, 2007

good trick, crappy brainteaser. bet its nice for parties =)
TheSmartest*us*
May 03, 2007

I've read this one before and actually used it as a science project! I did well. Very fun and easy to do, thank you for the science help!

Anyway, awesome work on this whole "burning paper" thing, really liked it!
naeem_ng**
May 04, 2007

I work at Mad Science Malaysia and one of the things we have to do is this, so I figured out the answer pretty easily. But the thing is that since it is the alcohol that burns first, technically the paper never burns, so the question itself isn't worded accurately. But that's just if you want to be technical. Also, if you don't put out the fire right away after lighting the paper soaked in alcohol, the fire will burn out all the alcohol and then burn the paper. So remember to put out the fire right away if you wanna save your paper (best way is hold it with thongs when you light it and shake off the fire right away). Cheerio!
Andy_Ltsx*
May 07, 2007

HOY........................................???
fedex337Aus*
Jun 29, 2007

my cousin did this same trick but she put the alcohol on the back of her hand and set it on fire... it was really really cool and she didnt get burned at all
rockstar1234567Aca*
Jan 28, 2008

i can see why it's hard
scott8anthony
Apr 22, 2008

I agree with lelrod, the paper does not actually burn.
gaylewolfAus*
May 04, 2013

I'll have to try it with the kids! Thanks!
jaycr*us*
May 04, 2013

"How can paper burn without any damage?" When I read this I looked at the category expecting to see Trick. Poorly written IMHO.
jaycr*us*
May 04, 2013

Answer: "Then, the alcohol burns and the paper does not."



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