Why does a flamethrower not explode?

  1. To be more specific, why is it that when the flammable gas or liquid is pumped through the barrel and ignited at the end of the barrel, the flame does not spread backwards along the stream of liquid/gas into the fuel container and cause an explosion?

    Is it simply because of the high pressure at which the fuel is pumped out? Or is there another reason, or a safety mechanism to prevent this from occurring?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. K^2

    K^2 2,470
    Science Advisor

    Two factors. Most important is that fuel in flame thrower doesn't contain oxidizer. It needs oxygen in air to burn. So it can't burn until it is expelled.

    Second is that the stream typically travels faster than flame can propagate along the stream. So the ignition point is actually carried away from the operator.
     
  4. Well-explained, thanks!
     
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