Fire, ever since it’s discovery man has been fascinated by it! It brings us together, we gather round it to sit and chat, we cook on it, we use it for light, for heat, for scaring away
predators, to burn things, in building, for making resources, the list is truly endless! Fire to us has always been a fierce friend and yet it is also a cruel mistress! If not kept under control, fire will fight us, burning everything in our path whether man, beast, plant or other. In fact, fire is one of the most common causes of death in the world and yet without it, we as a society would not have progressed as far as we have. Fire opened doors to inventions and discoveries that without it truly would not have been possible.
During our time at Seeley copse, we would always have a fire burning. This kept us nice
and toasty when it was cold and helped us cook and carry out experiments, for us it was often the warmth that kept us going mentally when we were tired and cold and wet. It was truly comforting and I will forever miss the Seeley copse sessions gathered round the fire learning. Even if my nose and my washing machine will not! (I stunk of smoke and was often covered in so much mud, I could have been made of it!).
But what exactly is fire?
To most mere mortals (including me), fire is just this cool thing that happens when you make something hot and give it a bit of energy.There is however, some proper good Science behind what fire is and how it is made! and here it is!
Fire is the visible effect of the process of combustion.It happens when oxygen in the air and some sort of fuel (lots and lots of deadwood in our case).The fuel is heated to its ignition temperature and then combusts BOOM (well not a BOOM, but it was dramatic). This combustion will keep going as long as there is enough heat, fuel and oxygen. This is known as the “fire triangle” (see the image to the left).Combustion is when fuel reacts with oxygen to release heat energy. it can be a slow or fast reaction that depends on the amount of oxygen available that is available in the immediate vicinity. Combustion that results in a flame is a result of a very fast reaction and is called burning. Combustion can only occur between gases.
Fuels can be solids, liquids or gases (the most commonly used by the “average Joe” however, would probably be wood (solid) or petroleum (a liquid) ). During the chemical reaction that produces fire, fuel is heated to such an extent that (if not already a gas) it releases gases from its surface (smoke that clings to your skin and makes you stink!). Gases are made up of loads of atoms. When these gases are hot enough, the molecules in the gases break up and are not as tightly bonded together this allows fragments of molecules rejoin with oxygen from the air to make new molecules – water molecules (H2O) and carbon dioxide molecules (CO2).The heat generated by the reaction is what sustains the fire. The heat of the flame will keep remaining fuel at ignition temperature. The flame ignites gases being emitted, and the fire spreads. As long as there is enough fuel and oxygen, the fire keeps burning (which is why forest and house fires are so very dangerous, there is just so much fuel available!).
Here some nice YouTube clips to explain even more about fire!
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