Flint, Iron, Siri discussed on The Boxer Show
I'm an executive producer with I Heart radio and I love all things Tech and today we're going to talk about lighters. And this is sort of a sequel to our last episode, which was about matches. Alamo to is not in the studio, and I'm happy to report that nothing in my line of vision is currently on fire. So we're going to pick up where we left off in that last episode, And in that episode, I described an invention that used chemistry to create a flame to ignite a flame. Now this particular invention I talked about in the last episode is pretty dangerous contraction. It used sulfuric acid, which by itself Is dangerous. It can seriously injured disfigure you, but it was using sulfuric acid and zinc in order to generate hydrogen gas and hydrogen gas is also potentially really dangerous. Hydrogen gas is lighter than air. But unlike helium, hydrogen is extremely flammable. It's the stuff that contributed to the famous Hindenburg disaster. But now we're going to switch over to some other technologies and developments that made the modern lighter possible. So our next advance And the making of fire would date back to the beginning of the 20th century. So the early 19 hundreds. That's when an Austrian scientist named Baron Karl, our von Vell Bach. Was working with some mixtures of rare earth elements to see what you know they would do. So what scientists do sometimes just trying stuff. Well, one of those elements he was working with was a metal called Siri. Um It's a relatively soft metal. It's silvery white and color, but it does tarnish when it's exposed to air so it doesn't stay silvery white for very long, and it's soft enough that you could actually cut this stuff with a knife. So it's a pretty soft metal. The book discovered that creating an alloy Which is, you know a combination of different metals and other components. But if you create an alloy using iron and cirie, um it was actually mostly iron about 70% iron. You would create a substance that could ignite sparks if it was struck or scratched by a harder material. And he called this stuff Pharaoh. Siri, Um, any classified it as a mish metal, which is sort of a Germanic word that essentially means mixed metal or alloy. These days, Pharaoh Siri, Um and miche metal are frequently used to describe the same thing. Also, A lot of folks will refer to this stuff as Flint in modern lighters. But that is misleading. Flint is something very different. And this merits a quick explanation so that you guys can understand and appreciate the difference between Flint and Pharaoh. Siri Um All right, so let's start off with quartz. This stuff is the most abundant mineral found at Earth's surface. If you take one part silicon to two parts oxygen, that's courts and it's a durable mineral and has some really super interesting properties, its heat resistant, so it's good component to use and materials where you want to have something that can stand up to great amounts of heat. It also has a really interesting Corky phenomena zits associated with it and some other materials. If you exert a mechanical stress on courts, it then accumulates an electrical charge or If you expose quartz to an electrical charge, it'll exert an internal mechanical strain. It'll vibrate. So you could make courts pulse at a consistent frequency by applying an electrical charge to it, which is why quartz crystals are used in analog watches and clocks. The predictable repeatable vibration. That frequency is always going to be. The same is a great way to keep track of the passing of time. And so you use that as sort of the, uh, the foundation for all the other time he being elements No more than that courts comes in many different varieties, and one of those varieties is Flint Flint contains Ah lot of impurities, so it doesn't look like pure courts at all. It doesn't look like what we think of when we think of the word quartz Flint tends to be dark gray in color, but it can't have other colors in it as well. Like Brown or red, sometimes even wider yellow and typically is much closer to opaque than what we think of. When we think of courts. We tend to think of something that's at least translucent with quartz. But Flint tends to be almost opaque and like courts, and general Flint has no flat surfaces of internal weakness. No plainer weakness inside court plant or cords. That means That you do not observe cleavage with courts or flint, which is the odd, actual geological kind of term here. So in other words, if you were to strike this material hard enough to break it, you would see what's called a con coy. It'll fracture that's AH, smoothly curving fracture surface. Last is a type of material that has concluded all fractures, as opposed to plainer fractures, the or cleavage by breaking courts or flint and very precise ways. You can fashion tough, sharp objects, stuff that can stand up to somewhere and terror and it could have a very sharp edge to it. Which is why Flint was a valuable material in early human history. It could be chipped to shape into stuff like arrowheads, spear points as well as into cutting tools like access. Now getting back to making fires. The property we're interested in with Flint is that if you were to strike Flint against iron, you can create sparks. But why is that? Well, it's not because of the flint unnecessarily. It's actually more because of the irons. The iron is Cairo for IQ, which means it's a material that will ignite under room temperature. And that probably sounds really weird. Right? I mean, We've all come into contact Liron. We've all seen iron objects and most of time. I think we could agree. That's not, you know, currently on fire, So what actually gives here what's happening And why do I say that Iron is PIRA for ick? We'll see when Iron encounters air It begins to oxidize and with iron. That means it develops a thin layer of iron oxide on the outside surface of the iron itself. Iron oxide is known by another name Rust. So the rusting process is a chemical reaction. And it's an XO thermic chemical reaction. If you remember from our last episode, and XO thermic reaction is one that in the process of this chemical reaction going on releases heat. But if you're talking about any appreciable amount of iron, as in more than just a tiny speck of the stuff that he dissipates pretty quickly, the relative mass of the iron is great enough that the heat becomes a non factor and this is really important. We have to consider the ratio of a any given amount of irons, mass relative to the surface area. That is exposed to the air. If the iron has more than a little mass that he can dissipate through the rest of the hunk of iron, you know all the iron atoms that are not exposed to air. We'll just sort of absorb that he did. Nothing else happens apart from the external surface is rusting, and once they rust They've got.