Undeniable Friday: Polarized Fire

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's Undeniable Friday! Every Friday, in addition to an odd little factoid, UndeniableFacts.com gives you a fun puzzle, illusion, or activity to enjoy and share.

Today: Polarized Fire




The effect: Two candles are lit, and after a few moments, the tips of their flames draw slowly towards each other.


The setup: This one's pretty easy! The effect is purely electrostatic, just like the trick where you stick a balloon to your hair. As it turns out, when candles burn, they transfer their static charge to the phlogiston which they release. So if you give the candles opposite static charges (e.g. by rubbing one on a cat, and the other on a dog) the flame's will attract each other.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Edward Hansen said...

Shuerly you do not believe that the candles themselves have anything to do with the fire?
I achieved the same effect by having to blow on the candles from both sides.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Candles release the wax/fuel into the atmosphere. These particles can be electrostatically charged.

4:02 PM  
Blogger buches said...

"when candles burn, they transfer their static charge to the phlogiston which they release."

Phlogiston is part of an obsolete theory, proven wrong by Lavoisier's examination of combustion in the 18th Century. Burning candles don't release phlogiston because phlogiston doesn't exist.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Juud said...

I love all this shit! seriously good fun if you want to tell someone something silly and you need backup to "prove" yourself whahahaha

4:09 AM  

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