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Heat, fire, pressure - things i don't understand

  1. Jan 2, 2009 #1
    Hi all,

    Apologies if this is in the wrong location, i'm new (and using that as an excuse :) )

    i am currently working on a fantasy novel and having some issues that my days old knowledge of thermodynamics, and what-not, is nowhere near capable of managing.

    So, to dive straight in; if we were to assume that you had access to a large amount of energy (potential or otherwise) and chose to use said energy by transferring it to a point in the air in front of you to generate a high temperature (thousands of degress) would a flame appear? Or, is a flame only generated when a secondary material is introduced, such as wood, carbon etc?

    if you were to heat to a small part of the air in front of you quickly and highly enough would you create a shockwave which would 'push' things?

    any help, knowledge or nudges in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2009 #2


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    You wouldn't create a flame - a flame needs fuel+oxygen+heat.
    You could create a plasma if you heated it enough - like a spherical glowing spark
    Enough heating can create a force, lightning creates a supersonic shock by heating air - that's the thunder you hear.
  4. Jan 2, 2009 #3
    If some of the nitrogen were oxidized would there be a visible flame?
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