This demo can only be performed in CHEM 140


Aluminum foil added to bromine produces heat and flames.  The effect is enhanced by red bromine fumes present in the reaction container.

2Al(s) + 3Br2(l) → 2AlBr3(s)
Note: Aluminum bromide also exists as Al2Br6.

To Conduct Demonstration

  1. Place the beaker on a ventilation grate.  The crystallizing or petri dish will be used as a lid on the beaker or flask.
  2. Carefully pour bromine into the container and place the dish on top.  CAUTION: Do not breathe any of the fumes!
  3. Pour about 7 pieces of aluminum foil into the beaker.  Replace the petri dish on top of the container.  This step may be repeated until one of the reagents is exhausted.

Demo Time: ~5 minute

Experiment step 1Experiment step 2Experiment step 3

Intense heat and flames are produced by this reaction.  Perform this demonstration only in a hood or in an area where exhaust ventilation is provided.  Use gloves when handling bromine, and take care not to breathe any bromine fumes.  Handle hot glassware with care. 

John Ohlsson, Spring 1987
Lora Ruffin and Michael Polk, Summer 2009