spaceSpace and Physics

Mesmerizing video shows match burning in super slow motion

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Lisa Winter

Guest Author

clockJan 23 2014, 18:26 UTC
260 Mesmerizing video shows match burning in super slow motion

It takes only an instant for a blow torch to light a match, but that doesn’t leave much time to actually appreciate the chemical reaction.

The slow-motion production company UltraSlo has released a new video showing what happens when you light a match. This time, the reaction is slowed down to an astonishing 4,000 frames per second.


When a match burns, it undergoes a chemical change. Heat (either from the friction of a matchbook or, in this case, another flame) ignites the phosphorous on the tip of the match. Phosphorous alone would be kind of a flash in the pan and wouldn’t stay lit long enough to use the match, so other ingredients are necessary. The heat breaks down potassium chlorate, which releases oxygen; moreso than is in the air. The oxygen is then used by sulfur in order to create a slow burn that lasts long enough to be useful.

Check it out:

spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • match burning,

  • combustion,

  • phosphorous,

  • potassium chlorate,

  • sulfur