Combustion reactions are around us in many ways from candles to driving cars. This simple experiment is a great way to explore how oils can be burned to produce energy. Parent help is mandatory though!

Materials List


Knife (parent only to use)


Matches or similar (parent to use only)

Orange fire materials




1) Knives and matches are dangerous and can cause damage. These items are to only be used by an adult / parent.

2) An adult is to supervise experiment and squeezing the oil into the flame.

The adult /parent should cut the oranges into quarters.

Orange fire step1

Remove the pulp from each quarter by placing your thumb between the skin and pulp. Keep the skin to use. (you can eat the pulp for lunch)

Orange fire step2

The adult should now light the candle. Fold the skin and move it close to the flame. Squeeze the skin. This should push the oil out of the skin and into the flame. It should combust forming light, flame and black smoke.

orange flames step 3

Check out the ‘Wacky Science’ video of this experiment and ‘What’s Going On’ series link. They are currently ‘In Production’, so check back soon…..

Wackey Science Ep

What's Going On?



When fuels (organic fuels) burn in oxygen to produc water and carbon dioxide we say it is a combustion reaction. It also produces energy (heat, light).

Candles are an example of this. The wax (chemical called hydrocarbons) reacts with oxygen in the air to make a mixture of products (water, carbon dioxide, solid carbon and carbon monoxide). The black smoke is a sign of carbon particles (called soot) and is an example of somthing called ‘incomplete combustion’.

Our oranges contain oils in their skin (called terpenes) and actually are a complex mixture of different oils with the main oil being limoene. This oil gives the oranges their smell and is often used in controlling pests.


If you would like

– more details,

– pictures of the second half of the experiment

– information on how to investigate this further

– links to everyday examples

– management hints & teaching pointers (5P Teacher develpoment program)

 ….. then why not subscribe to one of the following


(1) Crazy science Club

Crazy Science Club slider5

(2) 5P Teacher Training course called ‘Looney Lab  Classroom Creations

Looney Lab Classroom Creations2


Or you can purchase the ‘Bright Sparkes Guide’ of this demonstration only ($2.50) which has:

  • HD pictures of experiment steps
  • Detailed explanation of science
  • Mini-challenge section (another experiment)
  • Making it a ‘Scientific Method’ experience
  • Graphing opportunities
  • REAL links and descriptions to everyday examples of concept.


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