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Heat of a bic lighter? A medium to lower it's heat?

  1. Jun 29, 2013 #1
    1.I know this is a weird question, but does anyone know what the temperature of a bic lighter is after around 5 seconds? If left on for a minute? In my research I have come across so many different answers and was hoping to get a more concrete answer. Once I have the needed testing apparatus I will test myself, but was hoping someone might have a ball park idea.

    2.How much do these temperatures vary on average?

    3.What would be a good material to diffuse this heat to around 400 to 500 degrees F? I was hoping to make a small (within 1"x1"x1")plate or cup shape that could diffuse this heat to 400F-500F range. Is this possible? I have been looking at materials that are poor conductors of heat, but what I really want is a material that heats up quickly and evenly, but lowers the temperature as desired? Does such a material exist?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2013 #2


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    I would seriously recommend that you don't play around with that stuff. There are facts, and there are urban legends, and all of them caution against flicking your Bic the wrong way. An item in Hot Rod (or Car Craft; I can't remember which) back in the 70's mentioned a guy had his leg blown off because he was welding and a spark infiltrated the Bic in his pocket. I do not personally believe that as reported (especially since they said that one Bic was equivalent to 6 sticks of dynamite; I mean, what kind? 60% Forcite? 40% Forcite? Really, now...) I did personally toss a Bic into a fire pit several years ago, and we all stood very far away to see what happened. It actually just cooked off the same way that a firearms cartridge would have. There was a tiny "pop", then a small jet of fire as the butane burned away.
  4. Jun 30, 2013 #3
    Do you really think putting a lighter under some type of medium will be dangerous? I imagine bics are fairly safe devices nowadays, but I will definitely be cautious if I proceed. Thanks.

    Does anyone know of what type of material would be best for what I am attempting to do?
  5. Jul 11, 2013 #4


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    You want a low temperature combustion. Try using the catalyst-impregnated handwarmer wick. It is designed to work with volatilized lighter fluid but it should also work with butane. I believe it to be an alumina fabric impregnated with something like palladium or platinum. The Zippo company refers to it as the "catalytic burner".
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