Did You Know? A Few Fun Facts About Fire!

March 19, 2019 12:24 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Sitting in front of a fireplace or custom fire pit is a great way to experience the allure of fire in a controlled way. Watching the flames crackle and the embers flick up above the blaze can be mesmerizing! It’s no wonder fire has been the object of human obsession for centuries. And while we may not worship fire like cultures of a thousand years ago, we still have a certain reverence for it.

Take it from an experienced custom fireplace contractor in Seattle, WA: fire is as interesting to learn about as it is to watch. In fact, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about fire. The next time you’re sitting in front of a fireplace, watching the blaze contently, here are a few interesting facts to keep in mind:

  • Fire is actually an ongoing series of chemical reactions! More people think about fire as a thing. It’s actually the product of several things—namely oxygen, a fuel source and the chemical reaction between them when an ignitor is applied. This is why your fireplace needs a gas source or your fire pit constantly requires wood to be added. When the ingredients run dry, so does the fire!
  • Ever wonder why some fire is golden and shades of orange, while other fire is blue? This all has to do with the oxygen content. As mentioned above, fire is a chemical reaction—when you add more of one ingredient (oxygen), the way the fire is produced changes. Blue flames mean there’s more oxygen; orange occurs when oxygen is balanced; yellow flames occur when there’s a smaller percentage of oxygen.
  • When you add more oxygen, fire gets hotter. As a rule of thumb, the air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen. Now, take something like an oxyacetylene welder’s torch (which uses close to pure oxygen) and you’ll get a flame that burns as hot as 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit! This is why some fires can melt metal and others simply discolor it.
  • That cracking and popping you hear from a wood fire is the sound of trapped oxygen being freed from the wood. In some cases, it might also be moisture, which is flash evaporated—the oxygen molecules from the water are used by the fire as fuel!

There’s a whole lot more science behind fire—including what kinds of molecules affect the color and growth of fire. For example, adding boric acid to a fire will turn it green, just like potassium salt will turn it purple. The way the chemical reaction processes extra molecules dictates the color of the flame. Don’t go adding just anything to a fire, though—there’s no telling what kind of unwanted reaction you could set off!

The best way to enjoy a fire is from a safe distance, in a controlled environment. We don’t recommend tossing logs into a huge blaze or sprinkling unknown ingredients into your fire pit to see what colors it creates. Instead, call a custom fireplace contractor in Seattle, WA to design a beautiful fire feature and think about the few intriguing facts above as you gaze into the flames.

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