What State of matter is Fire?

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Offline Astronomer_FB

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What State of matter is Fire?
« on: 04/03/2009 00:59:59 »
What is fire's state of matter my teacher tells me gas.  What is its atomic structure and if it is a  gas why does it not expand its volume within its own container like other gases? 

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Offline Supercryptid

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #1 on: 04/03/2009 04:17:42 »
It is a gas. The structure of a flame will vary depending on which part of the flame you are looking at. At the very base of the flame, oxygen molecules and vaporized fuel molecules will exist in an unburned state. As you go higher, the fuel and oxygen molecules will be dissociated and will begin to react with one-another. At this point, combustion is incomplete. Higher up, combustion is completed and waste gases are produced (such as water vapor and carbon dioxide). The light and heat generated by the flame are caused by the reaction energy of combustion. You can also tell which parts of a flame are hottest by their color. The blue portion of a flame is the hottest, whereas red will be coolest.

Technically, a flame does expand like a gas. You usually cannot see this. This is because as a gas expands, it gets cooler. When it cools enough, it will no longer produce visible light and it will be invisible. Thus, you can only see the parts of the flame that are hot enough to produce light.

Some people will say that fire is a plasma (and in some cases it is). However, I don't consider plasma to be a true state of matter. It is simply a variant on other states of matter. You can think of, for example, metals to be a form of solid plasma because of the electron "soup" and atomic "kernels" they are composed of. Essentially, they are ionized but have a net charge of zero.

You could have fire with plasma in it by burning metal such as magnesium, since the metal atoms are technically ionized. However, a substance does not need to be hot in order to be considered a plasma. As long as it's ionized, it'll do.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2009 04:19:37 by Supercryptid »
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Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #2 on: 04/03/2009 07:53:09 »
Also, fire contains solid particulate carbon - hot soot is yellow-orange (cold soot is achromatic- black/white) - sort of like a solid in suspension in the gas that Supercryptid describes.
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Offline Astronomer_FB

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #3 on: 04/03/2009 11:20:40 »
Ok thanks but is it possible to actually freeze fire or to have it in a complete liquid or complete solid state? 

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Offline lightarrow

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #4 on: 04/03/2009 12:29:50 »
Ok thanks but is it possible to actually freeze fire or to have it in a complete liquid or complete solid state? 
Then it wouldn't be fire anylonger.

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Offline Bored chemist

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #5 on: 04/03/2009 18:55:36 »
Fire isn't a thing, it's a process. As such it doesn't need to fit into any of the categories.
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Offline lightarrow

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #6 on: 04/03/2009 19:02:18 »
Yes, it should have better talked about "flame".

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Offline Astronomer_FB

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #7 on: 04/03/2009 19:53:07 »
Yes, it should have better talked about "flame".
Well can you explain the difference of fire and flame then.

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Offline lightarrow

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #8 on: 05/03/2009 08:12:21 »
Yes, it should have better talked about "flame".
Well can you explain the difference of fire and flame then.
As Bored chemist wrote, fire is a process: the process of combustion; so it's not (properly speaking) a physical object as a flame.
« Last Edit: 08/04/2009 15:58:44 by lightarrow »

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ScientificBoysClub

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #9 on: 05/03/2009 08:27:47 »
There are four states of matter

-solid
-liquid
-gas
-PLASMA and Fire belongs to plasma !!

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Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #10 on: 05/03/2009 09:14:16 »
isn't the Bose-Einstain Condensate a state of matter?

BoredChemist is right - fire is a process.

here is a great resource
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Offline Astronomer_FB

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #11 on: 05/03/2009 11:04:05 »
isn't the Bose-Einstain Condensate a state of matter?

BoredChemist is right - fire is a process.

here is a great resource
Got it guys thanks alot.

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Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #12 on: 05/03/2009 11:10:57 »
you are most welcome
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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #13 on: 05/03/2009 17:56:17 »
There are four states of matter

-solid
-liquid
-gas
-PLASMA and Fire belongs to plasma !!


No, it is a hot gas.

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Offline Bored chemist

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #14 on: 05/03/2009 18:59:35 »
A flame is composed of plasma- they conduct electricity reasonaby well.
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Offline Fuzimatt

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #15 on: 06/03/2009 04:44:30 »
I agree with everyone saying its a plasma. Thats why it has color and conducts electricity.

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ScientificBoysClub

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #16 on: 08/04/2009 12:07:57 »
There are four states of matter

-solid
-liquid
-gas
-PLASMA and Fire belongs to plasma !!


No, it is a hot gas.
who said that fire is a gas ?

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Offline Chemistry4me

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #17 on: 08/04/2009 12:19:19 »
Madidus_Scientia did. [:)]

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Offline Don_1

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #18 on: 08/04/2009 13:19:13 »
  What State of matter is Fire?


Rapid change???
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ScientificBoysClub

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #19 on: 08/04/2009 13:20:25 »
  What State of matter is Fire?


Rapid change???
change...but There are four states of matter

-solid
-liquid
-gas
-PLASMA and Fire belongs to plasma !!
 ....

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Offline lightarrow

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #20 on: 08/04/2009 16:00:37 »

 change...but There are four states of matter

-solid
-liquid
-gas
-PLASMA and Fire belongs to plasma !!
 ....

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Offline Raghavendra

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #21 on: 12/04/2009 08:45:59 »
I said in earth ......without oxygen

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Offline Chemistry4me

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #22 on: 12/04/2009 08:48:13 »
In Earth or on Earth?

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Offline Raghavendra

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #23 on: 12/04/2009 08:50:13 »
In the earth,...

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Offline Chemistry4me

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #24 on: 12/04/2009 08:52:11 »
Blah, I'm too old for this. [:P]

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Offline Raghavendra

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #25 on: 12/04/2009 08:54:27 »
me too

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Offline Dr.IC

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #26 on: 17/04/2009 10:47:20 »
The ancient Greeks and alchemists thought that fire was an element. They also considered earth, air, and water to be elements. However, the modern definition of an element defines it by the number of protons a pure substance possesses. Fire is made up of many different substances, so it is not an element.

For the most part, fire is a mixture of hot gases. Flames are the result of a chemical reaction, primarily between oxygen in air and a fuel, such as wood or propane. In addition to other products, the reaction produces carbon dioxide, steam, light, and heat. If the flame is hot enough, the gases are ionized and become yet another state of matter: plasma.

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Offline echochartruse

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #27 on: 02/04/2010 01:01:26 »
Earth Wind Fire Water, some may say are elements
A view with an open mind

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Offline Bored chemist

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #28 on: 02/04/2010 19:18:34 »
Please disregard all previous signatures.

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Offline lightarrow

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #29 on: 02/04/2010 19:41:15 »
Earth Wind Fire Water, some may say are elements
Yes, but they haven't studied chemistry...

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Offline sithcdw

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #30 on: 19/05/2010 04:38:05 »
The flame itself produces light...
photons can ONLY be created from matter...
therefore, the flame has to be categorized within one of the states of MATTER...solid, liquid, gas, or plasma... i would say it is a combination of all of them.

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Offline Bored chemist

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What State of matter is Fire?
« Reply #31 on: 19/05/2010 19:25:23 »
I just checked the flame on my gas cooker. There's not a shed-full of solid or liquid there.
Fire still remains a process rather than a thing.
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