The Fire Syringe - Starting a Fire with Air Compression

Posted by Joe Sitter on

The fire syringe is an excellent demonstration of what happens when you rapidly compress air. Nearly every gas heats up when compressed and the fire syringe is an exciting demonstration of that. This can make for an excellent physics or chemistry classroom demonstration. Topics covered in a fire syringe demonstration include heat & thermodynamics, energy transfer, air compression and how pistons and explosives work. Compact fire syringes have been used in Asia since prehistoric time but our model, with its clear inner and outer tubes was designed for demonstrations.

Fire SyringeOur fire syringe kit has everything you need for a classroom demonstration including the piston, cotton balls, replacement O-rings and a classroom guide. Simply place pieces of the included cotton balls in the acrylic chamber and then rapidly press down on the piston. The energy from your motion will transfer to the fire syringe and cause the cotton ball to ignite. You can experiment with various non explosive substances in the fire piston to see if they will ignite. Just to give you an idea of how hot it gets inside the fire syringe - the kindling point for untreated cotton is 765°F!!! That is how hot the inner chamber of the fire syringe will briefly rise to when you rapidly compress the air inside of it.

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