Video: The Pharaoh’s Serpent

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So here’s a video of Mercury(II) thiocyanate decomposition initiated by heating. It’s possibly the strangest chemical reaction you’ll see today (and if not…what in the world are you doing?).

This reaction is also known as the Pharaoh’s Serpent. It had, at one time, been used as an alternate version of the Black Snake firework. However, due its toxic nature, that’s no longer the case.

“For some time, a firework product called ‘Pharaoschlangen’ was available to the public in Germany, but was eventually banned when the toxic properties of the product were discovered through the death of several children mistakenly eating the resulting solid.”

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