The Pharaoh's Snake firework stands at the apex of chemistry reactions gone viral.
Simple in its execution, the toxic experiment creates a snake-like body that emerges from a humble pile of white powder known as mercury(II) thiocyanate.
When ignited, the mercury(II) thiocyanate starts to decompose into a yellow-ish brown mass of ash and gas that seems to grow from out of nothing. Because of that it is also fragile and brittle to the touch.
Those who conduct the experiment are strongly advised to wear nothing less than protective wear including a fume hood and gloves to ensure no direct contact as almost every part of this experiment has the potential to kill you.
In fact, when cleaning up, breaking the "serpent" apart will release toxic gas, thus emphasizing the fact that this awesome experiment is extremely dangerous.
For the everyday person, another alternative firework is the Black Snake, a reaction created using simple household items including sugar and backing soda.
Would you do this experiment yourself?
You can go behind the science of open your own gate of hell by starting here.
Here's a very detailed explanation and multiple demonstrations of the Pharoah's Serpent:
And another one that most people would be familiar with:
And for those interested in how the black snake firework would look like:
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