back to article The iPhone 6 doused in bromine - an incendiary mix or not?

In case you've been wondering, like you do, just what happens if you pour bromine on an iPhone 6S, the Daily Telegraph reports on a vid which shows the Jesus mobe "bursting into flames" when doused in the malodorous element. Don't Ever Pour Bromine on an iPhone 6S! Well, we don't want to rain on this fiery spectacle, but it's …

  1. Semtex451 Silver badge

    Telegraph Journos

    are these days similarly lightweight and malleable. Perhaps the experiment could be repeated on them with something stronger. Gin, I believe, they are only mildly reactive to.

  2. Chemist

    " suggested we might like to repeat the experiment and test it for ourselves. We're more inclined to test what happens when you pour bromine on, say, a banana wrapped in aluminium foil."

    PLEASE DON'T THINK ABOUT TRYING THIS ! Bromine is very nasty, it will diffuse through normal rubber gloves and burns produced by it are dreadful and slow to heal. I knew a chap whose daughter merely put on contaminated gloves and she was scarred for life. I hate to think about the damage that could be caused to eyes.

  3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Also, if you were to try and acquire some bromine, it wouldn't be from a pharmacist, it would be from the likes of Sigma Aldrich, and I'm pretty sure they would be required to ask you some tricky questions when setting up your account. Given how nasty halogens are, I'd expect that if you were stupid enough to try to buy any of them in any significant quantity, without having a very good reason to do so (such as working as an industrial chemist), you'd probably find yourself getting an early morning visit from the anti terrorism squad.

  4. Grikath Silver badge

    Not even considering that the way he went about doing this is close to earning him a Darwin award....

    This isn't "don't try this as home", this is a prime example of "This is a good way to get yourself killed".

  5. x 7 Silver badge

    "it would be from the likes of Sigma Aldrich, and I'm pretty sure they would be required to ask you some tricky questions "

    I can assure you that in the UK if you attempted to order bromine for a home address from any of the lab reagent supply houses you would immediately become "a person of interest" to the police.....

    Same if you tried to order anything related to drug / explosive / firework manufacture.

    Been there, seen it, reported it. Many times.

  6. Dave 126 Silver badge

    It's very nasty stuff, we get it..

    So, here's an idea: A website with a live camera of a chemist in a lab. The paying viewer can make requests such as: "please put an avocado in liquid nitrogen and hit it with a slipper".

  7. Stevie Silver badge


    Banana after dipping in liquid oxygen.

    It's the next inevitable phase.

  8. O RLY

    Re: Bah!

    I imagine you'd get several phases (of matter) as the banana is changed ;)

  9. Peter Simpson 1

    Ob. Gergel reference

    If your legacy after a lifetime of work is a Superfund site, you should have been a bit more careful...

  10. Little Mouse

    If you've never written on a banana with a ballpoint pen before...

    Do it. Do it now.

    You'll be glad you did.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: If you've never written on a banana with a ballpoint pen before...

    I just tried. The pen just scoops up the flesh.

  12. wyatt

    My granddad was a chemistry teacher in a grammar school many years ago, my dad has lots of tales about taking chemicals home and blowing stuff up. Sodium wrapped in newspaper and thrown in a canal lock was a favourite!

    Dangerous stuff chemicals, if you're going to 'experiment' at least find out what to do when they go wrong before hand. My granddad refused to continue with anyone who couldn't answer basic first aid questions even before they got to the teaching/knowledge part of the interview.

  13. Chris King Silver badge

    Wasn't that a perk of the job, sneaking chemicals out of the store cupboard and blowing stuff up ?

    Chucking big lumps of sodium into canal locks is a common tale amongst older chemistry teachers.

  14. Chris King Silver badge

    Wow, rough crowd in here, giving a thumbs-down to me and the parent poster for a bit of guerilla chemistry.

    What can I say to that, but BOOM! ?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    a banana wrapped in aluminium foil.

    Are you equating a banana to an iThing - please don't degrade the banana, ;)

  16. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    Re: A-hem

    Are you equating a banana to an iThing...

    Yeah, it's a bit passé.

  17. boltar Silver badge

    What a muppet

    He's destroyed 2 expensive brand new iPhones for what? A silly school level chemistry demonstration that didn't even require them. Since when did £500 devices become so disposible they can be destroyed out the box for a laugh?

    Some people really should have any money confiscated off them since they're not responsible enough to have it. Also this guy should have his mouth sown shut - he makes Bill & Ted sound intellectual.

  18. Amorous Cowherder

    Re: What a muppet

    Exactly. I'm all for a bit of a laugh but it's sad that in this day an age, where some people in our own privileged countries don't have enough to eat, that we think nothing of ruining perfectly good items that cost more than some people earn in a year.

    There must have been some items beyond repair which they could have tried these pranks out with?

  19. DougS Silver badge

    Re: What a muppet

    Ever since the 'will it blend' videos blended a 3gs, people seem to be competing with each other for most creative ways to destroy an iPhone.

    I don't think the cost of the phone matters much to them though. If their Youtube video gets enough views to be talked about on the Reg, they've likely made the cost of the phone back and then some.

  20. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Re: What a muppet

    >Since when did £500 devices become so disposible they can be destroyed out the box for a laugh?

    I'm just thinking of the Lamborghini Miura - and other cars - destroyed in The Italian Job, just for a laugh.


  21. DougS Silver badge

    Re: What a muppet

    Or the three $300K Aston Martins destroyed in the latest Bond film. You could blend a lot of iPhones for $900K.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Amorous Cowherder

    Re: Lye.

    Nasty stuff. I know someone who slipped over in a mixture of CS on the floor in well known DIY store here in the UK, suffered severe burns on their hands and arms when they hit the floor. Currently in discussion with said DIY company about the incident!

  24. Frank Bough

    Re: Lye.

    if you decide to do this - and you should as iPhones are worth destroying on sight - make sure you take a good deep breath of the resulting fumes. A really deep breath.

  25. tirk

    Dioxygen difluoride

    Now that would have been a bit more exciting - it's a tad more reactive than bromine. For example, it makes water ice burn at -100C.

    Nasty stuff!

    (Icon used for it's original meaning!)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Dioxygen difluoride

    Well duh! Its abbreviation tells you it's reactive -- FOOF!

  27. Michael Strorm

    Re: Dioxygen difluoride

    Things I Won't Work With's take on FOOF.

    Also, sand won't save you this time.

    ( links used because site seems to be down again).

  28. Ilsa Loving

    I wish I was as rich as him.

    I wish I had so much disposable income that I could piss away several grand on electronic devices just to destroy them for personal entertainment.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I wish I was as rich as him.

    I wish I had so much disposable income that I could piss away several grand on electronic devices just to destroy them for personal entertainment.

    Even if you had the money I'd find it a questionable use of funds. It's wasteful. If I really was desperate to drop that sort of cash I'd give it to a homeless shelter, IMHO a more worthy recipient of that sort of money.

  30. Efros

    Price and shipping

    500g (about 160 ml) will set you back about $144 from Sigma Aldrich in the US. If you can't pick it up in person then you can get it sent to an educational establishment in the US, then your main problem is shipping. It can't be sent by any of the normal carriers and must be sent through a trucking company and then it has to be Hazmat approved, pricey.

    After you've got it, as others have mentioned, it is seriously nasty stuff. Bromine burns are probably second only to HF burns in terms of long term problems, and personally I'd stay clear of it. I do remember my school having liquid bromine in the stock room back in the 70s, but then we also had all of the available alkali metals and mercury as well, most of which are now banned from school premises.

  31. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

    Re: Price and shipping

    I think we'll avoid bromine and stick with potassium nitrate and boron - our current chemical tomfoolery of choice. Mind you, powdered Teflon and magnesium is entertaining.

  32. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Re: Price and shipping

    Less than 20 years ago in my high school school chemistry class a small ampoule of bromine was being passed around the room so that the students could get a good safe look at the stuff. The ampoule itself was sealed inside a larger glass vial.

    Despite the subject of that particular lesson being that halogens are unfriendly, it got to one guy who threw it above his head and allowed it to land on the desk. With me sitting next to him. It didn't break but that was the end of that.

  33. Efros

    Re: Price and shipping

    There's always one... and that usually determines H&S policy.

  34. x 7 Silver badge

    Re: Price and shipping

    "powdered Teflon and magnesium is entertaining."

    don't give people ideas.......thats actually been used in terrorist incendiary attacks.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Price and shipping

    Mind you, powdered Teflon and magnesium is entertaining.

    What does that do? I rather ask it here than generate a hit on überspy Google..

  36. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

    Re: Re: Price and shipping

    It's quite a lively reaction.

  37. x 7 Silver badge

    Re: Price and shipping

    extremely hot incendiary

    used as anti-IR missile flares

    reports suggest its used by terrorists as incendiaries including at least once on an aircraft

  38. Screwed

    Reading that article brought back with incredible spped and power, memories of the smell in school chemistry labs when bromine had been used - even in a fume cupboard.

    Even once reacted, we should be aware that bromine compounds can have nasty effects on things like the thyroid.

    Having dropped lumps of sodium down WCs and achieved quite spectacular explosions, I am not averse to enjoying playing with "chemicals", but I'll keep a very generous distance away from several of the halogens.

  39. Frank Bough

    I really fucking hate

    The gadget destroyers. The PlayStation smashers, the phone blenders, the phone dunkers and now the aluminium phone burners. What the fuck is wrong with these twunts?

  40. x 7 Silver badge

    Last time I was in India I had to do a quality audit on an Indian chemical plant which specialised in brominations. They made tetralkyl ammonium bromides - key products in phase transfer catalysis, and also used as biocides.

    The plant was amazing - rickety old scaffolding with a bit of hole-ridden galvanised iron on top to keep off the worse of the monsoon. No sidewalls. Exposed electrical lights - no flameproofing. All chemical handling was by hand. Glass carboys of bromine in willow baskets (each weighing ~ 70kg) being carried up rotten rusty steps and poured into the reactor by hand. No safety gear: flipflops for shoes, t-shirts and shorts, no face masks, no breathing gear. They made a good product - the chemistry worked. But at what human cost? All the guys had scarred hands and respiratory problems, and I presume limited life expectations. But I guess life in India is cheap.

    Thats the price of global free trade, and the reason why the western chemical industry is dying on its feet.

  41. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    But Tim says it's okay, because reasons and economics and stuff!

  42. x 7 Silver badge

    "But Tim says it's okay, because reasons and economics and stuff!"

    And its why I maintain that free-market economists like Tim and his pals at the Adam Smith Institute are a bunch of misguided evil bastards who care nothing for the quality of life of those whom their policies affect.

    Money is everything, quality (and sanctity) of life counts for nothing. Destroy the western economy, exploit the third world, and stick the cash in the back pocket while avoiding tax at all costs

    I've equally no time for the idiots in the left wing think tanks who are just as exploitative

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But that has nothing to do with globalisation, it's just that the wealthy and powerful in India regard most of their fellow citizens as ambulatory dog shit and treat them accordingly.

    Take for instance their enormously expensive nuclear program, which is purely domestic and has nothing whatever to do with free trade. I saw a documentary where they discussed a serious leak of radioactive fluid from a mess of shoddy pipework. They fixed it by hiring a bunch of illiterate laborers from the local village and sending them one at a time to run down a corridor, pick up the wrench, work on the pipes until the overseer blew the whistle after a time interval calculated to take them up to their lifetime radiation limit, drop the wrench, run back down the corridor, collect their rupees and go wait for the bus back to their village. A bunch of them went on to develop radiation-related illnesses and/or cancers but nobody gave a toss.

  44. x 7 Silver badge

    "But that has nothing to do with globalisation"

    It has EVERYTHING to do with globalisation. That one plant, with its low-cost / high risk manufacturing put three UK and European manufacturing plants out of business. Globalisation / free trade means Western manufacturing being unable to compete on a level playing surface. Western HSE rules would quite correctly have shut that plant down. Once upon a time import tarriffs would have prevented the Indians offering product from dangerous sites - the UK authorities knew the score and would have dutied them to the hilt. Can't do that any more due to the "Free Trade" mantra - instead our markets are open to whoever can offer goods at the cheapest, most exploitative, least safe manufacturing conditions

    Globalistion and Free Trade are quite simply euphemisms for exploitation of the third world and bankrupting western manufacturing.

  45. kryptonaut

    Making bromine

    When I was a foolhardy teenager I made some bromine by bubbling chlorine (Domestos+acid) through a solution of potassium bromide (Bob Martins dog sedative tablets), then distilling the result. Ended up with about 1/4" of the stuff in the bottom of a small test tube - which I decided (and this is the foolhardy bit) to take to school in my blazer pocket, to show my mates. Over the course of the day the cork in the test tube turned brown and crumbly - I was very glad to get the stuff home without incident. Yeah, probably shouldn't have done that.

    Mind you in those days there were regular mercury spillages in the physics lab, I used to collect it and take it home in any container I could find - empty crisp packets, biro lids... happy days!

  46. Timbo

    Pollution ?

    Is it just me, or are others worried by the effects of "blowing things up" by random people and seeing all the noxious gases released by these "experiments". In fact this is one reason why I stopped watching Mythbusters, as they continued to burn/destroy items and the thick black smoke that resulted simply made me think "what's the point of this?"

    (It's OK, I realise that said smoke/CO2, etc created, is not much, but it is sad that these YouTube examples will be copied...and it just seems a bit irresponsible).

  47. Efros

    Re: Pollution ?

    Compared to your average home probably not significant in terms of environmental damage. If you want to get on someone's case about this sort of thing there are far bigger and more culpable targets than a bunch of geeks hell bent on a cool explosion.

  48. Juan Inamillion

    School japes

    Try magnesium powder and potassium permanganate...

    Also for real adventure we'd make nitrogen triiodide (.880 ammonia and iodine crystals). Very very very nasty when dry... just about stable when wet.. Great to leave some to dry on filter paper with a bit of jam and wait for a fly to land.

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