MadSci Network: Chemistry

Subject: What causes luminescence from residue of burned match striker

Date: Sun Feb 27 13:27:58 2000
Posted by Dan Sanfilippo
Grade level: teacher/prof School: No school entered.
City: Omaha State/Province: NE Country: USA
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 951679678.Ch

A “trick” shown to me by one of my students.

Remove the “striker” from a book of matches.  Scrape away most of the paper 
backing. Fold it lengthwise into a “^” shape with the striker side down.  
Place it on two dimes.  Ignite one end and allow it to slowly burn.  The 
result is a brown, oily substance deposited on the dimes.  When taken into a 
darkened room, this substance, when rubbed between your fingers gives off a 
greenish light.

What is the chemical reaction that takes place?  Is there any danger 
involved in this?

Re: What causes luminescence from residue of burned match striker

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