Microwave Plasma

Microwave Plasma

We go through our daily lives encountering three of the states of matter; solid, liquid, and gas; nearly every moment, but the fourth, plasma, is much rarer for most of us. Plasma can be found around most forms of visible electricity, like lightning, but you can find it inside your microwave if you follow the

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An Egg and Fire

An Egg and Fire

This experiment is very easy to do but will blow your mind. We have said time and time again that light can bend and reflect in crazy ways. Here is another example of that. Just by charring the outside of a raw (or cooked) egg shell and dipping it in water, you will be able

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Behind the Scenes with a Lighter Flame Float

Behind the Scenes with a Lighter Flame Float

It’s a classic trick to make a lighter flame float, but how does it actually work? As it turns out, the secret can be found on your desk: a ballpoint pen. Though the key to the trick may be simple, there’s some really cool science making it happen. Follow along with us and we’ll show

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Fireproof Balloons

Fireproof Balloons

If you’ve ever brought a match to a balloon (or been in our Atmosphere and Gases class), you know that fire and balloons don’t mix, but what if you could prevent a balloon from popping when it comes in contact with fire? The answer to this dilemma can be found in the simplest place: water.

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What’s the Matter: Is Fire a Plasma?

What’s the Matter: Is Fire a Plasma?

Is fire a plasma? Turns out it’s not a trivial question! The answer depends on how you define the parameters of the fourth state of matter. Descriptions of plasma commonly include the following points: plasma is what happens when a gas is subjected to lots of ionizing energy. Although thoroughly ionized, it is quasi-neutral. Its

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Fire Tornado!

Fire Tornado!

Tornadoes are born when extreme weather circumstances come together. Their short, destructive lives are still not fully understood, but one leading theory goes like this: sometimes, winds at different altitudes blow at different speeds, rolling the air between them into a horizontal, rotating cylinder. If a supercell thunderstorm is nearby, the spinning column can be

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DIY Fireproof Cash

DIY Fireproof Cash

We soaked this $5 bill in flammable rubbing alcohol and then lit it on fire. So how did it survive? Does it have something to do with the bill itself? This demonstration is impressive with money, but we haven’t been able to find an example of it using other materials. Many people have asked us

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The (Almost) Invisible Fuse

The (Almost) Invisible Fuse

When you light a candle, wax melts and travels up the wick via capillary action. As it gets close enough to the heat source, the wax vaporizes and ignites, providing more heat, which melts more wax, which is wicked up into the flame in turn. The cycle continues until fuel runs out, oxygen is depleted,

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Survival Skills: Science Style

Survival Skills: Science Style

Light travels incredibly fast. In a vacuum, it speeds along at nearly six trillion miles per hour. Ever notice how your feet look distorted when you wade in the water, or how a straw seems to be cut in half where it enters a full glass? When light travels through a medium, it slows down.

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Why on Earth Can Oranges Spray Fire!?

Why on Earth Can Oranges Spray Fire!?

Oranges are fruits that grow on trees. They are made up of almost 90% water by weight. This should pretty clearly mean that they are not flammable. However, there is something going on. Take a look: Inside of the peel is a special oil called D-Limonene that is quite flammable. What reason could an orange

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The Speed of Fire

The Speed of Fire

How fast is fire? We sent a burst of flame through a fluorescent light tube to explore the propagation of an alcohol-burning reaction along an enclosed path. In our experiment, the frontier of flame sped along at over six feet per second. Fire behaves very differently in other environments. In space, combustion becomes almost unrecognizable.

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The Invisible Fire Extinguisher

The Invisible Fire Extinguisher

  You’ve heard of fighting fire with water, but did you know that gases also have the power to douse flames? A gas can smother a blaze by creating a barrier between burning fuel and nearby air. Removing any of the three requirements for fire stops the combustion reaction. Image credit: Ohio Northern University Fire

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