Bleeding Iron is an experiment in which you can make an iron nail bleed. This can be done by using only few chemicals. In this experiment we prepare a solution of Potassium Thiocyacyanate, Hydrogen Peroxide and Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid. When an iron nail is put in this solution it starts bleeding!

main image,Bleeding Iron

Safety First! Adult supervision required. Wear protective eye wear and clothing. Don’t eat/drink your experiments.

Materials and tools required

materials,Bleeding Iron


  • Potassium Thiocyanate
  • 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Distilled Water
  • Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid


  • Test tube
  • Iron nail
  • Measuring Cylinder
  • Thread

What to do!

Step 1 – Put few grams of Potassium Thiocyanate in a test tube.

Step 2 – Add 25 ml of distilled water.

Step 3 – Put few drops of Hydrochloric Acid

Step 4 – Put few drops of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Step 5 – Then, get an iron and drop it in.

Step 6 – Watch the iron nail bleed.

Working principle of the activity

The chemistry behind this bleeding iron experiment is, when we drop the iron nail in the prepared solution. First the hydrochloric acid and the hydrogen peroxide are reacting with the iron to produce iron (III) ions. Also, Potassium Thiocyanate reduces into thiocyanate ions. The iron (III) ions then react with these Thiocyanate ions to produce Iron Thiocyanate ions. These Iron Thiocyanate ions are red in colour and give the appearance of blood. But since it only forms near the surface of the nail, it appears the nail is bleeding.

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