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

Will it form a flame ball?

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acidbass

8 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

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Kitemanacidbass

Answer 8 years ago

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.

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acidbassKiteman

Answer 8 years ago

the sphere i understand but wouldnt the fire keep going because there is oxygen

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Kitemanacidbass

Answer 8 years ago

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.

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acidbassKiteman

Answer 8 years ago

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

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Kitemanacidbass

Answer 8 years ago

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.

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acidbassKiteman

Answer 8 years ago

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

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Kitemanacidbass

Answer 8 years ago

BTW - $10 prize? The deadline is gone...

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acidbassKiteman

Answer 8 years ago

yes and i have found a winner