Nitrates are oxidants that release oxygen when heated. Oxidants are used to support combustion. This acitvity shows how effective nitrates are as oxidants.
Take a concentrate solution of potassium nitrate and with a brush paint a pattern on an A3 piece of paper.


Allow the paper to dry. Place a glowing splint onto the dried potassium nitrate and watch as the paper starts to glow along the path created by the potassium nitrate.



The video above shows the burning of the paper along the line of where the oxidant was placed.


The paper burns along the trail of the potassium nitrate. The glowing splint produces enough energy to heat up the oxidant and release oxygen This oxygen reacts with the paper and causes the paper to burn slowly. Where there is no potassium nitrate the paper does not burn because there is not enough energy to cause the paper to react with atmospheric oxygen.