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How Hot is a Lighter Flame? (And Match Flame?)

How Hot is a Lighter Flame? (And Match Flame?)

As more and more people say adios to smoking, lighters are experiencing a downward-sloping curve when it comes to their popularity. Even so, the fact remains that lighters are the unsung heroes that do the magic even in situations where the common matchstick won’t suffice.

To do them some bit of justice, we will be taking a deep examination of a few things about these lighters. Ranging from how hot they ignite to the hottest part of the flame to whether or not electric lighters are safe, we have so much lined up in your wait.

What Temperature Do Lighters Burn At?

The temperature at which lighters burn will depend on the fuel it’s using and several other factors. But holding these factors constant, butane lighters can reach temperatures as high as 4,074o F, lower than their naphthalene counterparts that have the potential to burn at a staggering 4591o F.

All lighters don’t burn at the same temperature. The butane type has a slightly “cooler” flame than the naphthalene variety.

Again to point out, all lighters using butane (or naphthalene) won’t burn at the same amount of temperature. In this case, a few factors play a role.

Some of these factors include;

  • The oxygen level: A good supply of oxygen will support combustion, making the flames burn at higher temperatures.
  • Ambient temperature: Flames burn at a lower temperature in cold weather. That’s because they lose more heat into their surrounding.
  • Movement of the surrounding air: Cold air will quench the flame, lowering its overall temperature.
  • The length of time you keep the lighter ignited: When beginning, the lighter won’t start burning at high temperatures. The temperature of the flame will increase with time.

All of these factors keep lighters from burning in their full potency, what we technically call adiabatic flame temperature (AFT).

In the simplest terms, an adiabatic flame temperature is the maximum amount of heat that a flame can attain under the most favorable burning conditions without losing any heat to the surrounding.

You can also think of it as the highest amount of flame heat you can ever attain from burning a particular compound.

With that said, we are safe to say that the 4074o F for butane and 4591o F for naphthalene lighters are basically the adiabatic flame temperatures of these two compounds.

But when lit, lighters have to interact with their surrounding. As such, they usually burn at lower temperatures.

When you light up a lighter, say a butane type, it will ignite at the temperature of 77o F. Then, when left long enough, the butane can attain up to 3578o F. It should be more for naphthalene flames.

What’s The Hottest Part of a Lighter Flame?

The hottest part of a lighter flame is the blue part. The blue color denotes that it’s the part where the complete combustion of gases is happening. It’s the region where burning is happening most efficiently without any waste.

The color of the lighter flame differs depending on the burning conditions. But most of the time, lighters will burn with a blue color near the base. And yes, that’s the hottest part of the flame.

In fact, blue is the hottest flame, whether coming from a lighter, torch, wood, or any other object.

Most people think that the white-hot tip of a lighter flame is the hottest. But that’s not the case, even though heat concentration is higher at the top.

Is an Electric Lighter Safe?

Yes, an electric lighter is safe. Electric lighters are a great alternative to traditional lighters because they are windproof and work in all weather conditions. In addition, the electric variety doesn’t require any flint or fuel, which makes them much safer than traditional lighters.

The traditional lighter needs a flint, and it will produce the spark that ignites the fuel. So, there is a possibility of the spark flying out and causing the fire. However, that’s not the case for the electric lighter.

An electric lighter has a heating element that uses a rechargeable battery. Every time you activate the lighter, the heating element will obtain the stored power in the battery to light up and glow. You can then use it to light cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

Moreover, electric lighters also come with a safety feature to keep them from igniting when in the pocket. That’s another plus point, especially when comparing them to their traditional counterparts.

With that said, when shopping for a safe and reliable lighter, then an electric lighter is a perfect choice. They are windproof, costefficient, environmentally friendly, work in all weather conditions, and are very affordable.

How Hot is a Match Flame?

The hotness of a typical match flame ranges between 1112 and 1472 o F (600 to 800o C). That’s hot enough to ignite substances, cause burns on the skin, and release energy in the form of light and heat.

That means the maximum temperature of a typical flame is lower than that of a candle flame. A candle flame will attain temperatures of up to 2552o F (1400o C), which is lower than the Bunsen burner’s 2700o F (1500oC).

But still, that doesn’t mean that a typical match flame isn’t too hot. It is. In fact, it’s too hot that you may not tell the difference between a match flame and that of a Bunsen burner when the flame contacts your skin.

As such, when working with a match flame, it’s best to handle it with a high level of care. Treat it with just as much precaution as you’d treat any other open flame. That way, you’ll avoid injuries and fire accidents.

How Hot Are Blue Flames?

Blue flames are hotter than regular flames. The temperature of a blue flame usually ranges between 2,600º F and 3,000º F. This is hotter than that of a regular fire that stands around 1,700º F.

The blue flames have more oxygen in them. Actually, as pointed out earlier, the blue color indicates an adequate amount of oxygen to complete the combustion.

But again, all blue flames don’t produce an equal amount of heat. The temperature of a blue flame differs depending on several factors such as;

  • The type of fuel: For instance, Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPS) – also known as Propane – burns at around 3596º F, while Methane’s flame is about 3560º F.
  • Amount of oxygen in the fuel: High amount of oxygen will support complete combustion. That results in a hotter flame than you can get from fuels with a lower oxygen level.
  • Oxygen Level In The Air: It’s another determinant of how hot a blue flame can get. Where the oxygen level is high, expect a hotter flame. For example, propane’s flame is about 3596º F when burning in the air. But in pure oxygen, it’s much hotter at 5108º F.

What Flames are The Hottest?

The hottest flame is blue and is at least 2,600º F hot. White comes as the second hottest. The third is yellow, then orange, and finally, red. Hence, you can look at the color of the flame and estimate how hot it is.

When you light up something and notice that it’s burning with a blue flame, know you are working with at least 2,600º F. That’s the minimum temperature for the blue flame color.

The white flame comes as the second hottest. The difference between the two flames isn’t as big, though. More precisely, in most cases, a white flame burns at the temperature range of 2,400º F and 2700º F.

About the bright yellow flame, it’s the third hottest on the list, coming after blue and white but before orange and red. When you notice one, then know at once that the temperature is between 2100º F and 2500º F.

The orange flame will burn at anywhere between 1800º F and 2100º F. Finally, the red flame comes last with a wide flame temperature range of between 900º F and 1800º F.

But again, these are just some of the most common flame colors. You can get a different flame color depending on what you are burning. Hence, the next time you light up something and notice green, purple, or any flame color not covered, then know it’s absolutely normal.

Why Won’t a Gas Lighter Stay Lit For More Than 30 Seconds?

A gas lighter won’t stay lit for more than 30 seconds for your safety and that of its own. The heat from the flame will radiate to the metallic head you are pressing down to release gas, making the place unbearable for long without hand protection.

You see, lighter heads are usually metallic. And as we all know, metals are good conductors of heat. As such, once you press down the metallic head for ignition, the flame will begin to heat the place you are holding.

As the lighter stays on, the heat will build up. Then, the metallic head will eventually become incredibly hot to hold down to, prompting you to release it. That could come as faster as within 20 seconds.

Suppose you have some hand protection to keep you from the heat,  the lighter still won’t remain lit until the gas is exhausted. Lighters utilize plastic materials that will begin to melt from the heat.

As the melting continues, the molten plastic will block the liquid from coming out, eventually causing the lighter to go off. In other words, a typical lighter won’t stay lit for long because of your safety and that of itself’s.

Final Verdict

Although they no longer get the hype they deserve, the fact remains not many technologies can replace the reliability of lighters. That’s why innovators are opting to build on this ancient invention, and an electric lighter is a case in point. Compared to the traditional variety, the electric lighter is more reliable, environmentally friendly, cost-efficient, and the best of all, safer.