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Burning paper

  1. Mar 14, 2006 #1


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    A thing i have noticed when burning paper on an open fire, the paper has
    burnt, and left a carbonized sheet, every so often a red hot thin thread
    travels along it, even on a very hot roaring fire the sheet will stay intact for
    several minutes, but what are these red hot threads burning.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2006 #2


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    I've noticed the same effect a couple of times, Woolie. Some materials seem more prone to it than others (ie: heavy bond paper vs. newspaper, etc.). Although I don't really know, I suspect that you have two separate flame fronts involving different components. The sizing, for instance, might burn off first, giving the impression that the paper itself is on fire, and then the paper does catch and creates the second wave. The other thing that comes to mind is that there might be fibres inside, particularly with high linen content paper, that take longer to ignite. I hope that someone here has a more expert answer, because now you've got me curious.
  4. Mar 16, 2006 #3
    mine is a guess as well. i feel that there are two parts to any variety of paper being takem into consideration. newsprint having the least fibre content while high linen paper such as those used for developing photos have a lot more. thus when subjected to the entity of fire, the carbon content ignites to the heat it is subjected to and the burnt carbon is still held together by the fibres. hence they stay intact even after having been burnt black. it is now that the temperature is high enough for the fibric contents to ignite and display the streaks of fire on the paper.
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