NOVA Online (see text links below)
Fire Wars
Match On Fire
Strike a Match

To initiate and sustain combustion, three things are needed: fuel, oxygen, and heat. These three components make up what is known as the fire triangle. Each type of fuel has an ignition temperature, which is the threshold temperature at which that fuel can rapidly unite with oxygen.

Above, two of the three components of the fire triangle are available. All that is needed to light the match is heat.

Dragging the match across the rough surface will generate heat due to friction. If the match moves fast enough, friction will generate enough heat and the match will ignite.


Printer-Friendly Format   Feedback

The Producer's Story | The World on Fire | Outfitting Wildland Firefighters
How Plants Use Fire | Glossary of Fire Terms | Wildfire Simulator | On Fire
Resources | Transcript | Site Map | Fire Wars Home

Search | Site Map | Previously Featured | Schedule | Feedback | Teachers | Shop
Join Us/E-Mail | About NOVA | Editor's Picks | Watch NOVAs Online | To Print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated June 2002

Shop Teachers Feedback Schedule Previously Featured Site Map Search NOVA Online Fire Wars Site Map