Exploding Watermelons

7607-watermelon.jpgI love Halloween. One of my favorite activities is to “carve” pumpkins using a simple reation inside the fruit. First, you carve the face then carefully replace pieces. After creating a reaction by generating a gas inside and igniting it (ask your local chemistry teacher for the details) the face pieces are blown off with a small explosion.

Halloween is more than 100 days away and I just couldn’t wait. So I initiated the new weather anchor at the local Denver television station by introducing her to carving watermelons. The problem was, we didn’t really carve the watermelon, it exploded. Watch the Video to see how we skipped right over the carving and went straight to exploding.

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Comments (34)

  • carolyn ordal Reply

    I teach high school drop-outs/disenfranchised students in GED subjects. I would like to do the exploding watermelon experiment, but am not a science teacher (social studies major). How do you generate the gas to cause the explosion? Appreciate your assistance.

    July 24, 2007 at 7:35 am
  • Steve Reply

    The best advice is to pay a visit to your favorite chemistry teacher and ask her to do the Exploding Pumpkin/Watermelon demo for your students. The gas you’re generating is a small amount of acetylene. Your chemistry teacher probably has the write-up from Flinn Scientific.

    July 24, 2007 at 10:18 am
  • Renita Ema Reply

    Hello Steve, I teach chemistry at Laboratory primary school state university of Malang for grade 7 and 8. My country is Indonesia. I so interest with your experiment about exploding watermelon. This experiment can give me more information about chemical reaction surrounding us. I will tray to do this experiment with my student. Tanks steve…

    August 1, 2007 at 9:20 am
  • Amanda Macdonald Reply

    Hi Steve,

    I teach chemistry and would love to do this demonstration the first day of school. I tried to search Flinn to find the write up, but was unsuccessful. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Thank you for all that you do!


    August 2, 2007 at 12:13 pm
  • Dave Olson Reply

    Check out the info on the Pumkin page.

    See #9.


    August 6, 2007 at 6:26 pm
  • Zack Katz@Katz Web Design Reply

    I was thinking of this during Halloween — Fourth of July should have Melon-o-laterns!

    November 1, 2008 at 9:28 am
  • jasmine Reply


    January 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm
  • Paige Moon Reply

    BAHAHAHHA ! πŸ™‚ seriously .. this is amazing! πŸ™‚

    January 6, 2009 at 8:44 am
  • Sara Pearson Reply


    January 6, 2009 at 8:46 am
  • victoria Reply

    i love this website its awesome

    February 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm
  • curtis.c Reply


    March 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm
  • Harry@INstantDiplomas Reply

    Awesome info, great blog. I added this site to my favs and look forward to reading more!

    April 3, 2009 at 11:58 pm
  • caitlin@uk web hosting Reply

    Cool video! I never liked science in school, but I think I would have liked it a lot more if my teachers did stuff like that!

    June 9, 2009 at 7:06 am
  • Leyton Reply

    hi steve i would like to know is the exploding water mellon chemical change? and also can you please send me instructions for making the exploding watermellon
    thanks leyton
    PS can you please send it to my email thanks;)

    August 18, 2009 at 12:59 am
  • jacobee Reply

    this is really cool

    November 18, 2009 at 7:20 pm
  • lauren Reply

    that pic is awesome

    December 15, 2009 at 9:43 am
  • Destynee boyle Reply

    hi my name is destynee and i want to do this for my science fair project and i would want to know how you get to do this it looks cool and funa nd i will have a parent gardian watching me do thiss project and help me do it i like to make stuf blow up catch on fire and so forth and i would love for you to email me the directions to this project
    thank you,,

    February 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm
  • Julie Gintzler Reply

    Hi Destynee, I think it is so great you are so interested in science but I have to tell you that no matter how cool it looks to blow stuff up, it is really dangerous. You have to learn a lot about chemistry and gases before you can do a demonstration like exploding watermelons. I hope you study chemistry when you get to high school and then you can do great demonstrations like exploding watermelons. Until then, you might enjoy looking at and trying some of the many experiments on the Steve Spangler Science website. Here is the link where you can find them: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiments/

    February 24, 2010 at 12:46 am
  • Alyssa Reply

    Dear Steve,

    Im very intrested in this project and would like to use i for science class. I asked my Chemistry teacher and she does not know the “Secret”. If you could please send me the procedures, materials and some possible places where I might recieve the materials. If you could send it to my E-Mail, It would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you so much!!!

    March 24, 2010 at 8:14 am
  • Julie Gintzler Reply

    If you search for “exploding watermelons” on our website, you’ll find a page that explains the reaction (in very general terms). As you know, we don’t put specific quantities on the website because we don’t want people to get hurt. I have to tell you that this is EXTREMELY dangerous. It is not our intent to be evasive, rather to protect the safety of those who use our site and are not trained in the usage of chemicals. The experiment starts with the carving of a watermelon and the build up of acetylene gas which is ignited. The truth is that there really is no exact recipe since each watermelon is different and there’s always the chance that too much acetylene gas built up in the watermelon will make the whole thing will explode! There is a set of chemical reference books called “Shakhasairi Chemical Demonstrations” series. This chemical text series is designed as a high level chemical demonstration text. You will find the full experiment details in these books.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:31 pm
  • Danielle Reply

    This project seems pretty awesome!!……. I am a student at G.E.M.S at seisd and all my friends would be intrested in this project!….Science class should have more stuff like this and my Partner Maria agrees stongly! (:

    May 5, 2010 at 10:26 am
  • Anthony Reply

    thats a cool experiment so i am going to try it

    September 29, 2010 at 11:06 am
  • blade Reply

    it went boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom

    November 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm
  • blade Reply

    it went boom

    November 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm
  • michaela Reply

    I have a science fair coming up and i need a topic. Its physical science and i want to explode something. Any ideas?

    November 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm
  • Julie Gintzler Reply

    Sugahboogah – here is the link to Steve’s tips on creating a great science fair project. Perhaps this will help you choose a topic: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/category/science-fair

    December 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm
  • andrea Reply

    what do we need to do the exploding watermelon project

    May 4, 2011 at 11:13 am
  • Julie Gintzler Reply

    Sorry Andrea – Although the exploding watermelon is an awesome demonstration to watch, it is a dangerous experiment and is not meant to be done by anyone who is not properly trained in the handling of combustable chemicals.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm
  • 8th Grade Science Fair Projects Reply

    Exploding watermelons is a very good science fair project or demonstration. I just hope students will be more interested in science rather than doing things that doesn’t have sense at all.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm
  • christian Reply

    awesome cooooooool!

    October 3, 2011 at 9:28 am
  • christian Reply

    cool picture

    October 3, 2011 at 9:29 am
  • hannah Reply

    how did you make it explode

    May 2, 2012 at 9:52 am
  • amber Reply

    I’m not really sure how you do this project. If you can explain that would be grate !

    November 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm
    • Susan Wells Reply

      Hi Amber – this is a science demonstration presented for educational purposes. It is not a hands-on experiment. For safety reasons, we do not disclose the steps or ingredients for this demo. For more information, we suggest you ask your favorite chemistry teacher. They have all the cool answers!

      November 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

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