Whether fire is our friend or foe depends a lot on the way we treat it and our having a basic knowledge of its causes. This understanding will help us see the practicality and benefits of having a Fire Pit.
What Is Fire?
Although men had been using fire for thousands of years, its true nature was not known until experiments by Antoine Lavoisier and others in the 1700's showed that fire marks a chemical reaction involving oxygen. I am sure that if they had put outdoor fire pits to good use, they could have figured this out way earlier! Anyway, they proved that oxygen is actually added during the burning process, although others before that had thought that fire resulted from the release of an imaginary substance called "phlogiston." Fire is defined as the heat and light that come from burning substances – essential of course for every fire pit.
In describing the basic essentials for fire, many speak of the "fire tetrahedron." In other words, along the original "fire triangle" of fuel, heat and oxygen, they add the fourth essential of chemical reaction. Fire pits use all four!
It is necessary for us to understand the part each of these plays in producing fire so that we can put it to use in either lighting our fire pit and preventing or extinguishing unwanted fires. For example, to put out a grease fire on the stove, turn off the stove (removing the heat) and cover with a lid (removing the oxygen that feeds the fire). This will also benefit those contemplating buying a fire pit, helping them to decide which fire pits are best for them.
So to get a better idea of what causes fire in your fire pit, let's take a look at these four basic elements.
FUEL: Given the right circumstances, most substances will burn or combine with oxygen in combustion, a chemical process that liberates heat. (Remember that fire is the heat and light resulting from combustion.) However, the temperature at which things will burn in fire pits, called the ignition point or kindling point, varies according to the substance. For example, the kindling point of film, nitrocellulose, is only 279 degrees Fahrenheit – not recommended for use in fire pits. For wool it is 401 degrees Fahrenheit – obviously making fire pits hard to light, and for newsprint 446 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for fire pits. What Fuel should I use in my Fire Pit? Wood or charcoal can be used in most fire pits. Some fire pits run on gas, a great alternative. See Artistic Fire Pits for converting your fire pit to gas.
HEAT: Generally, heat is provided from an outside source, such as a match or spark, and then the fire produces enough of its own heat to be self-supporting. If we reduce the temperature of a burning substance below its kindling point, the fire in all fire pits will go out. Sometimes enough heat is generated within substances, such as in a pile of oily rags, to cause them to burst into flames. This is called spontaneous combustion. Certain bacteria in moist hay can cause the temperature to rise rapidly, causing the hay to burn. These sources of heat can not be ignored when considering fire prevention and safety, and in deciding what to burn in your outdoor fire pit.
OXYGEN: Although there are other chemicals that can combine with fuels to produce heat, oxygen is the most common. The need for oxygen to sustain a fire in all fire pits is shown by the fact that fuels heated in a vacuum will not burn. Sorry there will be no outdoor fire pits in space!
CHEMICAL REACTION: There are certain conditions under which fuels will not produce a flame, even though fuel, heat and oxygen are present. For example, if the percentage of natural gas in air is not between about 4 percent and 15 percent, no flame will be produced; your fire pit will not go!
The burning process can be illustrated by an examination of the flame of a candle. The wax does not burn directly, but, rather, gas given off by the heated wax travels up the wick and burns. Prove this by blowing out a candle that has been burning for some time. Then pass a lighted match through the trail of smoke rising from the wick. A flame will travel down the smoke to the wick and relight the candle.
There are three areas in the flame produced by fire pits: (1) the dark inner area of no combustion and (2) an intermediate layer of incomplete combustion, composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that typically work their way to (3) the outside cone of complete combustion.
Why Choose a Fire Pit?
With the moving in mind think of how the flame of your fire pit will strengthen your evening. Yes the rich tones of the patina evoke the colors of a warm blaze making Outdoor Fire Pits a center attraction for any gathering, even on those cooler evenings. In sunlight, the designs, on the sides of Patina Fire Pits [http://www.lightmyfirepit.com/product/F100], or the actual design of the Artisanal Fire Bowls themselves, cast intriguing shadows both inside and outside the bowl. When lit, the flickering shadows from fire pits are as vivid as the fire within.
Keeping in mind the essentials for fire, would it not be a good idea to take a look around your home or place of work to see if you may not be giving destructive fire a place to start? And remember – Fire Pits are a great way to control your outdoor fire.
Yes, whether fire is our friend or foe depends a lot on the way we treat it and our having a basic knowledge of its causes. It certainly is the course of wisdom to treat fire with respect, and fire pits are a great way of doing just that!