|MadSci Network: Biophysics|
Matt: Fire in and of itself is no more a living thing than is a nuclear reaction. As a matter of fact, fire is a chain reaction involving some sort of fuel (something that will burn) and something which will provide what it takes to allow that burning to take place. In most cases, we are talking about ordinary combustibles such as wood, plastic and other item you will find in a household. Fire is predictible in most cases unless something unforeseen happens like a keg of powder going off in the home of a black powder gun enthusiast. The reaction which takes place in fire is termed an oxidation-reduction reaction whereby the fuel is oxidzed by oxygen or some other fire sustaining gas, such a nitrogen in the case of aluminum. A fire extiguishing agent which has become very popular over the past 30 years is one called halon which comes in various mixtures of chemicals. They use it in everything from jet plane engines to computer rooms and switching rooms for long distance companies. It works by actually interfering with and breaking up the chemical chain reaction which sustains the fire in the firest place. But a living thing, in the sense that it can think for itself? - no fire is not a living thing, though sometimes to firefighter it may seem alive, especially when it is licking at your bottom and things begin to heat up. I hope this answer's your question. any more questions about fire, feel free to e-mail me direct at "firstname.lastname@example.org sincerely, Donald E Duggan
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