Phenomena

Flame Thrower Physics

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This high-speed video–which we do not recommend recreating yourself–features burning gasoline flying through the air. In addition to the sheer entertainment value, there are some neat physics. In the first segment, when they kick a tray of gasoline, one can see lovely fiery vortices forming around the backside of the tray as it’s launched. This is the start of the tray’s wake. In the latter half of the video, they launch the flaming gasoline from a bucket. Notice how the flames are in the wake while liquid gasoline streams out ahead without burning. This is because it is primarily gaseous petrol that is flammable. As the liquid fuel breaks up into droplets heated by the burning gasoline vapors nearby, the rest of the fuel changes to a vapor state and catches flame. (Video credit: The Slow Mo Guys; submitted by Will T)

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