Fire-Breathing Physics

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One of the most dangerous stunts for any fire-eater is breathing fire. Dr. Tim Cockerill explains some of the science behind the feat in this video. Volatility–the tendency of the liquid fuel to vaporize–is actually the enemy of a fire-eater. Use a fuel that is too volatile and it will catch fire too easily when the vaporous fuel mixes with the air. Instead fire-eaters use less volatile fuels and spray a mist of fine droplets to mix the air and fuel. This atomization of the fuel creates a spectacular fireball without endangering the fire-eater (as much). To see a similar fireball in high-speed, check out this post. (Video credit: T. Cockerill/The Ri Channel; via io9)

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