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How Not to Put Out a Metal Fire - with Steve Mould

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 Chemistry   |   Science
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It's a terrible idea to try to extinguish burning metal with a water or CO2 fire extinguisher. Steve Mould shows why.

Subscribe for regular science videos from the Ri: http://bit.ly/RiSubscRibe and be sure you check out Steve's channel - https://www.youtube.com/stevemould

The working principle of a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is that it starves a fire of oxygen. However, carbon dioxide itself has two oxygen atoms for every one carbon atom, and in the case of metal fires, the burning metal strips CO2 of its oxygen atoms, thereby adding more oxygen to the mix. It's even worse with water fire extinguishers, as when the oxygen atoms are stripped, only hydrogen remains, which is in itself explosive.

The correct way to put out a metal fire is with a powder fire extinguisher that covers the fire entirely with non-reactive powder.

Link to the chladni figures video Steve recommended - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR_XL192wXw

Link to this video without any music - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LvuH3D7CCo

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