Catching Fire

Citrus fruits like oranges house tiny pockets of oil in their peels. When squeezed, the oils jet out in tiny micro-jets that are about the width of a human hair. Despite their small size, the jets reach speeds of about 30 m/s and quickly break into a stream of droplets. When exposed to the flame of a lighter, like in the animation above, those microdroplets combust easily, creating a momentary fireball used to augment some cocktails. For more on how the citrus peel generates these jets, check out this previous post. (Image credit: Warped Perceptionsource; research credit: N. Smith et al.)

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