If you light a match in a spacecraft, which way will the flame go?

Will it form a flame ball?

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Burf6 years ago
acidbass6 years ago
no it will not.......well it could if you light it near the oxygen tanks but it should go straight up considering there is no wind unless you have people around you
Ahem - in orbit, no weight, so no convection to draw the flame up. The flame will form a sphere, and then go out, as diffusion cannot feed oxygen to the reaction quickly enough to keep the flame going.

the sphere i understand but wouldnt the fire keep going because there is oxygen
On Earth, you'd get a convection current - the hot, oxygen-depleted air rising and drawing in a steady supply of fresh oxygen-rich air.

With no convection current, oxygen only spreads by diffusion (look it up) which is much slower than convection.

That is also why spacecraft need fans - without breezes, people would suffocate in their own cloud of CO2.
ok ok I see now so it basically forms a "force field" (if you will) and dies under its own source
sorry american high school science sucks these days
Not a force field (that's gravity, magnetism and electrostatics), but a "zone of depletion" - any oxygen molecule that bounces too close gets eaten by the reaction, until the immediate area is empty, and the flame starves.

ah! even a better simplistic answer than mine :-)
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