Why shaking a lighter makes it work ?


I’ve been smoking for the better part of the last 12 years (Don’t smoke people, best way to stop is to never start), and I’ve been doing something most smokers I know do (mostly by habit) but oddly enough, also for practical use.

When your lighter does not work after you strike it 3-5 times, you shake it up, and boom, it works.

Why ? I’d suppose it’s linked to the way lighter gas work, but… I’m 5 :'(

In: Chemistry

The fuel of a lighter is stored as a liquid inside the lighter, but it’s the gas that actually burns when you strike it. Sometimes, not enough of the fuel is in a gas form for it to light, so you need to turn some liquid into gas. This is what shaking accomplishes. By shaking it, you splash the liquid around, which breaks it up into small droplets, some of which become vapor that you can ignite.

Depends also in the flint stone of the lighter . Sometimes it gets eaten up and you have to try harder to make a sparkle but even after you do that the liquid is in the bottom of the lighter so shaking it will turn it into gas and so it ignites

Just as an aside, when the shaking stops working, plug the holes in the metal part with your fingers, press the gas lever down and wait 10-20 seconds then immediately strike the flint when you let go of the holes.

I can almost always get a flame from a “dead” lighter doing this.