Phenomena

The Invisible Forces Behind a Lighter

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This high-speed schlieren video reveals the ignition of a butane lighter.  The schlieren optical technique exaggerates differences in refractive index caused by density variations, enabling experimentalists to see thermal eddies, shock waves, and other phenomena invisible to the naked eye. Here a jet of butane shoots upward from the lighter as a valve is released. Then the spark from the lighter ignites the butane gas near the bottom of the jet. A flame front the propagates outward and upward, completing the lighting process. (submitted by @Mark_K_Quinn)

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