spaceSpace and Physics

Watch 6,000 Matches Go Up At Once In A Hypnotic Cascade Of Flames


Ben Taub

Freelance Writer

clockMar 28 2016, 17:20 UTC
659 Watch 6,000 Matches Go Up At Once In A Hypnotic Cascade Of Flames
Just 6,000 matches doing what they do best. YouTube/HTD

Got a spare 15 minutes and looking for a vaguely scientific way to fill them? This captivating video of 6,000 matchsticks busting into flames like blazing dominoes should do the trick.

While the result of this little "experiment" isn’t particularly surprising or groundbreaking, it does provide a useful reminder that sometimes it’s worth taking some time out from advancing human knowledge to simply watch stuff burn.


Beginning with the ignition of a single match, the video shows how a flame can spread over a compact arrangement of phosphorous-topped sticks, creating a crescendo of pyromaniacal glory before slowly dying out.



Safety matches have a head of red phosphorous, which is stable and therefore unlikely to spontaneously combust in air. However, when heated – either by friction when striking a rough surface or by coming into contact with a flame – it becomes converted into white phosphorous, which is highly volatile and flammable.


Matches also contain potassium chlorate, which is broken down by the heat generated by the flame in order to release oxygen, providing something to burn and allowing the blaze to last a little longer.

spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • phosphorous,

  • fire,

  • matches