Can a flame a start on a wet piece of paper immersed in water?

The video is shown below (not the full video):


This is not in English so you might not understand anything. In the video they simply say it is demons or whatever that starts the fire, which is silly to me, of course.

My questions:

  • What kind of compounds can we use (or the fraud used in the video)?

  • What do they do in movies, tv shows, magic shows, or even the olympics, to start flames on water?

  • What changes the color of flame. For example it was pink in the video?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I touched on the possibility of flames underwater in this recent question, and I even mentioned the specific case of Olympic torches. The example in your video seems somewhat crude. A small amount of sodium or potassium metal could do the trick, though there are many other ways. It's far easier to light a flame on the surface of water than underwater because atmospheric oxygen can still reach the flame. Also, good on you for approaching the matter skeptically! $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2015 at 15:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Rubidium is rather expensive, but would produce a reddish flame. The effect could also be easily achieved with an electric discharge. $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2015 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


Watch this video from 1:50 onwards to see the reactions of sodium and potassium with water. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6ZDiRIvc2E

This video, 0:56, shows gasoline (petrol) burning on water. (Note that the batteries have nothing to do with it). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs13jBWqFjA

  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, I was gonna flag as "link only", but this isn't link-only. I think with a bit more elaboration, this'd make a good answer. Hint: Focus on what processes result in "flame on water". $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 9:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.