Phenomena

Combustion in Microgravity

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‘Hot air rises.’ It’s common knowledge. But we usually forget that this is only true thanks to Earth’s gravity. On Earth, a candle flame’s distinctive pointed shape is due to hot air rising. Without gravity, there is no buoyant convection; hot air has no reason to rise (and no definition of what up is either!). This makes flames in microgravity spherical, as in the video above from a drop tower on earth. See also: astronaut explains fire in microgravity.

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