Thursday, June 20, 2013

This is what fire looks in space!

  • Fire is a very different and mysterious creature when it burns in a micro-gravity environment. 
  • Usually, flames in the presence of gravity (i.e. on Earth) form under complex chemical reactions. 
  • But gravity ensures that the flame on a candle, say, forms a ‘droplet’ shape — hot air rises, pulling in cool air behind it, shaping the flame. 
  • But in the absence a strong gravitational field — like the micro-gravity environment in the ISS — fire transforms into a very alien configuration. 
  • Rather than hungrily expanding to pull in oxygen like its terrestrial counterpart, the micro-gravity flame stays put, burning as oxygen flows towards it.