eli5 – would a flammable substance still ignite if heated by a source that isn’t fire?


I feel like it should, but if not, why?

In: 0

If the temperature goes high enough it would. Some materials even just ignite from plain air or other catalysts like water.

Yes it will, if a specific temperature is reached, so called autoignition temperature. It’s different for every substance.

Yes, it would, as long as the flammable substance was in air or oxygen. All that is necessary (ELI5) is that the substance reaches a sufficient temperature. The source of the energy to get to the temperature does not matter.

In fact, most modern detonators for explosives use electricity to heat a wire that sets off the explosive.

Yes. However a flame tends to be hotter then other sources and be a more focused source of heat. So it tends to be easier to ignite things with a flame then other means. However there are daily examples of using other heat sources to ignite things. For example a gas furnace or a cigarette lighter are both using an electric spark as a source of heat to ignite them. A match use friction heating to ignite. A car cigarette lighter is just a heating coil which gets hot enough that it can ignite the end of a cigarette. And in cooking you can heat the pan enough for things to catch fire, either intentionally as part of an impressive cooking technique or unintentionally in the case of grease fires. And speaking of unintentional fires electrical fires are also caused by bad electrical connections generating enough heat to make flammable things around them catch fire.

Yes. Hot metal, compressed air, and electrical arcs are all used to ignite the fuel in engines.

As long as it is hot enough, it works.