Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Chemistry => Topic started by: Hannah LS on 04/12/2018 14:20:18

Title: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: Hannah LS on 04/12/2018 14:20:18
Baskar asks:

How does a match stick burn in air when it is placed close to a chemical? For an example see this video:



What type of chemical could be used for this? In the video the chemical looks like a kind of gel...

What do you think?
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: chris on 04/12/2018 17:55:40
I'm intrigued!
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: chiralSPO on 04/12/2018 18:45:56
I can imagine a few substances that have a significant enough vapor pressure, and are reactive enough that they could start to heat the match head and trigger them...

It will depend strongly on what type of matches they are--"strike anywhere" matches can often be starteed with concentrated sulfuric acid (not volatile), so perhaps a similarly strong acid that is more volatile could be used (like TFA, but I don't want to think about what getting a TFA-laden gel on my skin would do...)

My suspicion is that it is either a volatile acid or fuel (or both), which would start reacting with the potassium chlorate in the match head.
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: Bored chemist on 04/12/2018 20:02:47
If I wanted to set up that effect I'd use an infra red laser.
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: Colin2B on 04/12/2018 23:05:15
It might not be a standard match. I think the first self igniting match was a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulphur and sugar and was dipped in sulphuric acid.
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: Bored chemist on 05/12/2018 19:54:34
Perhaps I should have  been clearer.
I know a lot about chemistry, ignition, volatility, reactivity, combustion and availability...
And I'd use a laser- because that would actually work..
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: chris on 05/12/2018 23:54:37
Wouldn't the laser burn the page? Or is that why they paint it with "water" beforehand...?
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: chiralSPO on 06/12/2018 00:06:29
indeed, an ir laser would offer an easy and quite effective way to light the matches (without many of the risks of using volatile and corrosive compounds.)

given that this appears to be a religious ritual, i don't see any reason why they would feel compelled to be open about the scientific mechanism.
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: chris on 06/12/2018 07:47:03
given that this appears to be a religious ritual, i don't see any reason why they would feel compelled to be open about the scientific mechanism.

 ;D
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: nekS576 on 25/01/2019 14:40:07
HHhmmmm, interesting question
Title: Re: Can a match be set alight without a strike?
Post by: Bored chemist on 25/01/2019 17:46:45
Wouldn't the laser burn the page? Or is that why they paint it with "water" beforehand...?
Because it's pointed at the match, not the paper.