Scientists Discover A New Kind Of Fire, Yes Really

Scientists have identified a new kind of fire which burns more cleanly.

Scientists have identified a new kind of fire which burns more cleanly. 

According to a recently published study from the University of Maryland, or UMD, this phenomenon, called a blue whirl, “evolves from a fire whirl and burns with nearly soot-free combustion.” 

Fire whirls are often vertical funnels of flames that whip up potentially dangerous, debris-carrying winds.

They also tend to be yellow in color because a lack of oxygen causes incomplete burning and the creation of soot.

A blue flame, on the other hand, reflects “there is enough oxygen for complete combustion, which means less or no soot, and is therefore a cleaner burn.”

As a UMD press release states, “The Clark School team initially set out to investigate the combustion and burning dynamics of fire whirls on water.” 

As they were especially interested in the whirls’ use in cleaning up oil spills, they added liquid fuel to water to create a pool fire.

After manipulating the system upward with the help of tubes, the team noticed that the resulting fire whirl eventually turned into “a small, intensely whirling blue flame.” 

While additional research is needed to determine the applications of this discovery, it could potentially decrease the number of pollutants released into the environment during the cleanup of oil disasters.
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Scientists from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter discussed their first in-depth science results in a media teleconference on May 25, 2017, at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT, 1800 UTC), when multiple papers with early findings were published online by the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

The teleconference participants were:

Diane Brown, program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington
Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio
Jack Connerney, deputy principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
Heidi Becker, Juno radiation monitoring investigation lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
Candy Hansen, Juno co-investigator at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. In its current exploration mission, Juno soars low over the planet’s cloud tops, as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno probes beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studies its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

For more information about the Juno mission, visit:
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