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Thread: Stuff you just don't get.

  1. #4831
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Depew, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Normal burning, including house fires, can get iron red hot at about 800 C. That will melt aluminium, tin, lead, and some bronzes but not copper (about 1200 C) or iron, even higher. The natural convection will bring in plenty of oxygen unless the fire is specially contained, as in a furnace. If you blow in extra air, charcoal (carbon) will heat up enough to melt copper or iron. Big enough natural fires can induce inward winds to raise the burning temperature, but that is exceptional. It is why we were stuck in the stone age so long!
    I find it fascinating that firefighter equipment works up to 1000 degrees. Most of their gear looks mundane.

    I try not to think about it. The fire in my house was hot enough to make them retreat from the building due to temperature. I was tempted to ask if that 1000 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, but I noticed that the copper pipes melted and iron pipes cracked near the source of the fire. If they meant Fahrenheit, they they dodged a bullet by exiting when they did because it was way hotter than that. They actually went back in under a sheet of water, room by room to put out the fire. Insane.

    What is creepy is the heat gradients. In the back of the house just above where the fire broke out, the plaster walls burned from ceiling to shoulder level. The walls and studs are gone, like someone took a giant knife and cut them away. The fridge is 8 inches shorter because it melted in the heat. The ceiling stayed in place until the water saturated it. If the plasterboard ceilings had given out the roof could have caught fire. Any hole in roof would have blown the house apart.

    Ironically, they discovered asbestos in the house. Absolutely everywhere on the first floor. They suspect the popcorn ceiling was made of it. That might be why the ceiling and roof didn't catch fire but the walls did, the decorative layer of asbestos was just enough to hold the fire for a bit. And not strong enough to stay in place when soaked.

    In the attic just above the fridge, there is a 10 man tent resting on a ceiling joist. It didn't melt or burn. It's super strange to see.

  2. #4832
    All I know for sure right now is I need a nap soon.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.

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