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I recently saw a video on Facebook of a couple of people pouring brake fluid into a bottle containing pool chemicals (chlorine pellets, I believe). Now this was a rather strong exothermic reaction, resulting in a fire. At one point during the fire, fire appeared to be vapors burning under pressure (like a propane tank fire). I have included a link here. Unfortunately, it is not the original video that I watched.

My question here is what in the brake fluid is reacting so strongly with the chlorine? And what are the chemical products of this reaction (what's in the smoke)?

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Pool Chlorine is calcium hypochlorite and brake fluid is polyethylene glycol. Here is a proposed mechanism for the reaction.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response! If no one else responds, I will likely accept this answer. :) $\endgroup$ – L.B. Feb 28 '17 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ This reference looks like a good find. Writing out at least the key parts of the reaction would greatly increase the quality of your answer, and probably earn you more up-votes ;) $\endgroup$ – airhuff Feb 28 '17 at 19:43

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