# FIRE IN FREEFALL - rare physics experiment | Summary and Q&A

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September 13, 2017
by
Physics Girl
FIRE IN FREEFALL - rare physics experiment

## TL;DR

Dropping a candle in a closed box created a zero gravity-like environment, resulting in a spherical flame similar to those observed in space.

## Key Insights

• 📫 Dropping a GoPro inside a closed box with a candle can create a zero gravity-like environment and simulate the behavior of flames in space.
• 🔥 In microgravity, flames burn colder and take on a more spherical shape.
• 👱 The teardrop shape of flames on Earth is caused by gravity and the flow of air around the flame.
• 🖤 The absence of buoyancy, slower mixing, and lack of a steady flow of air in a zero gravity environment contribute to the formation of a spherical flame.

## Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] Oh, yeah, look at right there. Look, look, look, look, look. Oh! That's so sick. Let's do it again. Hey, I'm Diana. You're watching "Physics Girl." And I should explain what we're doing again. My friend, Dan Walsh, texted me out of the blue last week and said, ooh, what would happen if you put a GoPro in a closed box with a candl... Read More

### Q: How did dropping a GoPro inside a closed box with a candle simulate a zero gravity environment?

Although not a perfect simulation, dropping the box created a zero gravity-like environment, allowing the flame to burn differently, similar to how flames behave in microgravity in space.

### Q: Why do candle flames have a teardrop shape on Earth?

Candle flames have a teardrop shape on Earth due to the effects of gravity. Hot air rises and cooler air replaces it, creating a flow around the flame that elongates it.

### Q: How did the flame behave in the zero gravity-like environment?

In the zero gravity-like environment, the flame formed a spherical shape due to no buoyant force, slower mixing, and the absence of a steady flow of air.

### Q: What did NASA ignite fuel fires in space for?

NASA ignites fuel fires in space to study how flames spread in microgravity and to observe unusual phenomena like cool flames, which burn with less intensity.

## Summary & Key Takeaways

• Physics Girl and her friend decided to test what would happen if they dropped a GoPro inside a closed box with a candle to simulate zero gravity conditions similar to the space station.

• In microgravity, flames burn colder and take on a spherical shape, which they were able to observe in their experiment.

• The shape of the flame is influenced by gravity, but in a zero gravity environment, the flame behaves differently due to lack of buoyancy and the absence of a steady flow of air.