As the weather turns cooler, the idea of cozying up around a fire seems more appealing. But did you know that fire is the result of a chemical reaction that releases light and heat?
For this reaction to occur, it requires oxygen, heat, and a fuel source, like wood, oil, or coal. The oxygen combusts, or burns up, the fuel source creating water, carbon dioxide, heat, and light. This reaction is known as an exothermic reaction because it releases heat.
A fire will continue to burn as long as it has the three necessary ingredients. We can put out a fire by removing the oxygen, exhausting the fuel source, or by cooling it off. Fire extinguishers smother the fire, effectively cutting off the oxygen and cooling the fuel source to slow down or stop the reaction.
Although fire is dangerous to humans and wildlife, it is an important part of the ecological process. It clears the way for new growth and even causes certain plants, like the lodgepole pine, to release their seeds. The fire also leaves behind a carbon-rich soil that promotes new plant growth.
Fun Fact – The ancient Greeks used concentrated sunlight to start a fire, which is why a parabolic mirror is still used to ignite the Olympic torch.
More Homeschool Science Helps
- This time last year, we shared about Lichens.
- We shared about the amazing Christmas Science deals to help Toys for Tots as a Cyber Monday sale!
- Fire Walk – Take a walk in a forest and look for evidence of a fire, such as charred tree trunks and diminished undergrowth.