What’s In A Candle Flame?

Microwave grape plasma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwTjsRt0Fzo
Northern Lights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knwiWm4DpvQ
Nanodiamonds in candle flames: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzOkuGQC3Rw
Relight Candle Trick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tXPVTIisl0

Is a flame really a plasma? Well it depends on your definition of plasma, but there are certainly ions in a flame, formed as molecules collide with each other at high speed, sometimes knocking electrons off of their atoms.

Special thanks to the Palais de la Decouverte for helping me perform this experiment. Using tens of thousands of volts on two metal plates, we created a strong electric field around the plasma. This pulled positive ions in one direction and negative ions in the other direction elongating the flame horizontally and causing it to flicker like a “papillon” (butterfly). Then we showed that much longer sparks can be made through the flame than through air since the ions increase the conductivity.


35 thoughts on “What’s In A Candle Flame?

  1. Of course a flame is a plasma! Plasma physics are scalable over many orders of magnitude. (See Thunderbolts Projects videos, who often remind the viewer of the fathers of plasma physics and their work.)

  2. I do agree with the presence of ions because of the last part of the video with the smoke fenomena but in the first part of the experiment what happens for me is that the fire heat the air what cause the density to decrease and also the air resintence making the conductivity become higher

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