You Can Actually Light A BBQ Using Water

You Can Actually Light A BBQ Using Water
Facebook may have decided that you shouldn’t see the news, but we think you deserve to be in the know with Gizmodo Australia’s reporting. To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Video: It’s a crucial compound when it comes to supporting life, but water has so many amazing properties that there’s a lifetime of experiments to try with what comes pouring out of your taps. It’s common knowledge that water is an effective tool for dousing a flame, but did you know that you can use water to start a fire too?

In this video, Steve Mould demonstrates a simple experiment where water is first boiled to create steam, and then as it flows through a metal coil, the steam is superheated so that its temperature far exceeds the temperature of a flame.

Heat energy will always move from a warmer object to a colder one, which is how water can be used to put out a fire. But in this case, the transfer of heat goes in the other direction, as the superheated steam is able to ignite a match.

It’s a neat experiment, but not necessarily a handy trick for starting a fire should you find yourself without a match.

Water has a high heat capacity, and is quite effective at absorbing heat energy from its surroundings with only minimal increases in its own temperature. To create steam that’s hot enough to start a fire, you’ll need an even hotter flame to superheat it — like from a blowtorch.

And if you already have access to a blow torch, you might as well just skip the steam experiment altogether and start your fire that way.