Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Flames for Firewalk

Last night, we saw a part of town having a traffic blockage

We got down to see the commotion

It turned out to be a firewalk

Firewalkers are not actually firewalkers

They are really coal walkers

Someone lights the fire well ahead of time

to allow the wood to burn down to non-flaming coals

The coals start out as pieces of wood

But because they've been burning for a while before the stunt,

the coals have burned down to nearly pure carbon, like charcoal

If you were to pick up one of these pure-carbon coals,

you would notice that it is extremely light

This lightweight carbon structure is a poor conductor of heat

It takes a relatively long time for heat to transfer

from the glowing coal to your skin

Now, add to that the fact that ash is a very good insulator

People actually used to use ash to insulate iceboxes

The red-hot coals covered with ash

transfer their heat even more slowly

because the ash acts as a layer of insulation

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