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Why is the color of a flame usually orange?

flamesThe typical, bright, yellowish-orange upper part of a flame is due to the heating of unburned carbon particles.

The temperature of the fire and the material being burned are the factors that determine the color of the flame. The various colors of flames in a wood fire are due to the different substances in the flames.

The strong orange color of most wood flames results when sodium contained in the wood is heated

The temperature of wood flames is lower than that of candle flames, which colors the wood flames orange, not yellow. If, however, some of the carbon particles in the fire are very hot, the color will be yellow. The product of the burnt carbon, when it has cooled, is black soot.

Since fire needs oxygen to burn, and since the bottom of a candle flame does not get much oxygen, it is the hottest spot in the flame and is blue in color.

The flame cools and changes color as it moves away from the source of the flame, because it is exposed to more oxygen. The temperature change causes the color of the flame to change from blue, at the hottest, lower portion of the flame, to the typical, bright, yellowish-orange or bright orange color with which most people are familiar. Which shade of orange is seen at the upper portion of the flame, where the flame is the coolest, depends upon the material being burned.

  • Electrical, flammable liquids, ordinary combustibles, and metal comprise the four types of fire.
  • In a year, lightning will cause 10,000 fires in the United States alone.
  • More than 5 percent of the land on Earth is burned by fire every year.
  • The bark of the redwood tree is fireproof. Fires in redwood forests take place inside the trees.
  • A perfectly clean fire produces almost no smoke. Smoke simply means that a fire is not burning properly and that bits of unburned material are escaping.
  • At 12,000 feet above sea level, there is barely enough oxygen in La Paz, Bolivia to support combustion. The city is nearly fireproof.
  • Forest fires move faster uphill than downhill.
  • Of all the world's peoples, the only ones known not to use fire are the Andaman Islanders and the Pygmies.
  • The word "curfew" is derived from an old French word that means," cover fire." In Europe during the Middle Ages, a curfew was a metal cone or shield that was used to put out the hearth fire in the evening. The word "curfew" came to mean the end of the day's activities.
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