Fire on earth v fire in space


A photo from the ISS:

Fire on Earth (left) vs. fire in #space (right); without convection drawing the flame up, flames form spheres.

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How cool is that?!

Comments

  1. says

    The colouring of the flames suggests that the flame in space is burning the candle more efficiently; i.e. it is producing less soot. That seems counter intuitive to me as in the spacial case the only contact with oxygen is at the surface of the flame. I’d better get my old thermodynamics textbooks out and have a think about it!

  2. lorn says

    Seems logical that the flame in weightlessness would be more efficient. Yes, the oxygen in not being drawn in, but the cooling effect of incoming air is also not dropping the temperature of combustion. The size of the spherical interface, where the reaction takes place, is a balance between the energy released and the surface area interaction with oxygen.

    Reminds me of stars where the diameter is a balance between gravity and energy released.

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