MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Making a match from scratch

Area: Chemistry
Posted By: David Young, Grad student, Chemistry
Date: Tue Apr 23 09:45:31 1996


Since I see that you are an upper elementary school student, the quick answer will be NO. The materials will not be readily available to you and the materials are more dangerous than I use with elementary school students.

I will, however, tell you about it. This could be done in a high school chemistry lab. The chemistry teacher will know how to get the necessary materials. I would still caution the chemistry teacher to look into the handling precautions for the various components before agreeing to the project.

The contents of your average match are

20% KClO3
9% P4S3
14% ground glass
11% Fe2O3
7% ZnO
39% water based glue

The KClO3 and P4S3 are the active ingredients that actually burn. The glass, Fe2O3 and ZnO are to give a consistency that will create enough friction to light the match. The glue just holds it all together.

For more information, see "Chemistry of the Elements" N. N. Greenwood and A. Earnshaw, Pergamon Press (1984) page 585

I hope this helps.

Dave Young

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