Firewalker ''Anastenaria''

  • Thread starter mikex24
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  • #1
Hello. I read in a book about fire-walkers and that the fire walking (walking without shoes on burnt coals) it has relationship with physics effects and that it can be explained by physics (something with temperatures). Does anyone knows anything about this ? Cheers
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
  • #3
Science Advisor
Yes it's true, fire walking is not magic and it's not mind over matter either. The physics relates to :

(1) Low thermal conductivity of the rocks.
(2) Walk so as to minimize the time spent in contact with the rocks.
(3) Keep the contact area with the feet as small as possible.
  • #4
but why it is so hard to do it?
  • #5
I'm not sure who told you it was hard to do, but it is very easy to do. The burnt coals have a layer of ash on them, which helps to insulate your feet. Plus our feet perspire slightly, which also helps.

  • #7
Homework Helper

Why not? It's perfectly safe if done properly.
  • #8
Gold Member
Why not? It's perfectly safe if done properly.
Heed Hypatia. It is PF policy to NEVER suggest activities are perfectly safe if there's potential for harm. It's a liability thing, not to mention an ethical thing.
  • #9
Shouldn't PF have some sort of natural selection clause, as to if someone is dumb enough to get hurt doing something stupid, they deserve it?

Anyways, What about glass walking? How does that work out?
  • #10
I think this become an episode in myth busters, an it does have some physics to it. the host of the program tried it for them selves and did not get burned.
what the host of the program explained is that you cant get hurt from doing it as long as your feet doesn't stay too long on the flame. its the same as the bed of nails its just looks hard to do but the host of the show tried it for them selves and they were ok.
  • #11
Natural Selection Clause! That gets my Vote. :biggrin: very funny.
  • #12
Shouldn't PF have some sort of natural selection clause, as to if someone is dumb enough to get hurt doing something stupid, they deserve it?

Anyways, What about glass walking? How does that work out?

Speaking as one who's cosmology teacher in high school was... a different sort... I've walked on glass, and it's really not that fancy. You feel and smooth the way in front of you, so that no sharp points are there to puncture, and then you distribute your weight from the outer portion of the foot, inward. It's easy, and it hurts, and you can be cut. No magic, just like eating fire.

It's the same as laying on a bed of nails, which I did... IN THE SAME CLASS. Ahh it was a different time. The trick is that there is no trick: Ash is a poor thermal conductor, your feet spend little time on coals, eating fire involves holding the torth so that the heat RISES and then rapidly snuffing the flame with your mouth.

Glass, Nails, etc... all are about the elasticity and strength of human skin, and distribution of pressure.

NOTE: If you are overweight, you can be badly hurt walking on glass. If your weight is normal, and you get unlucky, you can be hurt.

IF you slip and fall, you could end up with a shard of glass in your femoral artery, or more commonly the radial artery as a result of trying to break one's fall. People who hammer nails into their sinuses, just deal with the pain.

I suppose there is a trick, and that is: Most sane people wouldn't attempt these stunts, so they have no personal reference beyond "nails and glass are sharp, and those coals look HOT!"
  • #13
Hi all it's my first post to this forum. though i've lurked here a while. I happen to be a fire performer and in my act I do fire eating, fire walking, flame transfers (using body parts to hold open flames) as well as stick my hand into molten lead. it's all real and it's just physics. The principal that makes most fire work safe is the Liendenfrost effect." [Broken]

oh and don't try any of this with out training...I shouldn't have to say that but....

oh and if you want to learn more about fire eating, poison eating, glass walking and a list of other really amazing sideshow feats and how they are performed....
Houdini's own expose..."
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  • #14
Mythbusters did do this one once. They found 2 things. First that ash is a poor thermal conductor as mentioned. The other important this you have to have to walk casually. If you walk fast you might pinch some coals in your toes or dig into the coals which results in burns from longer contact times with the heat.