HopePressler1
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Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:20 pm
Occupation: Parent

How do you measure the temperature of fire

Postby HopePressler1 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:16 pm

My daughter wants to use a science kit to see if fire burns at different colors. She is also interested in measuring the temperature of the fire. What is the best way to measure the temperature of the different colored flames?

Thank you,
Hope

LouisCouryBiogen
Expert
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Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:40 pm
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Re: How do you measure the temperature of fire

Postby LouisCouryBiogen » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:08 pm

Greetings - This is an interesting question, and if your daughter pursues this project, I trust you will supervise her closely to make sure she does things safely! If you have an outdoor grill, that could be a safe place to try things out. Perhaps burning a piece of paper, a twig, a piece of charcoal, etc., would be a good start.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article that lists the temperatures of flames when common materials burn (wood, charcoal, etc.):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame.

As you can see, temperatures range from about 750 deg F to over 2000 deg F. The article also shows a drawing of a flame with the temperatures of various parts of the flame labelled. In actual practice, I would expect quite a bit of variation, depending on the fuel and which part of the flame is measured, so it is worth making a few measurements yourself to see what you find.

So, how can one safely measure such temperatures? I think the safest solution is to use an infrared temperature monitoring device (non-contact thermometer). These are similar to the devices that are being used to measure people's temperatures now during the Covid pandemic, except that the device you will need can measure higher temperatures.

Here is a link to a company that sells them (note: I have no affiliation to this company, nor do I have any direct experience with their products. This is just an example.) https://www.thermoworks.com/search?keywords=industrial The industrial devices they list cost around $70 to $90, so they are not cheap. If you know people who work in a welding shop, maybe you could borrow one from them?

It is also possible that you may be able to use a non-contact (Infrared) meat thermometer. I see a few on Amazon that cost in the $25 range and are rated up to around 1000 deg F. (Search for "IR Meat Thermometer"). The upper end of the range (1000 deg) may not be high enough to measure the flames of very many different materials, but the reference Wikipedia article linked above does show a few materials that burn below 1000 deg F.

Hope this helps, be safe, and good luck!

HopePressler1
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:20 pm
Occupation: Parent

Re: How do you measure the temperature of fire

Postby HopePressler1 » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:35 am

Thank you for your advice. That is very helpful.

Hope


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