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phenomenon associated with the chemical reaction of a gas that has been heated above its kindling temperature with some other gas, usually atmospheric oxygen (see combustioncombustion,
rapid chemical reaction of two or more substances with a characteristic liberation of heat and light; it is commonly called burning. The burning of a fuel (e.g., wood, coal, oil, or natural gas) in air is a familiar example of combustion.
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). The heat and light given off are characteristic of the specific chemical reaction (or reactions) going on; the luminosity of the flame is usually caused by solid particles of foreign matter present (naturally or artificially) in the burning gas and heated to incandescence; and the shape of the flame is commonly that of a hollow cone. The simple flame occurring when a single gas, such as hydrogen, burns in another gas, such as air, shows two areas, or zones: an inner, cone-shaped area consisting of unburned gas; and an outer area in which the chemical reaction (the combination of hydrogen and oxygen to form water) is taking place. Furthermore, the flame is nonluminous and therefore very hot, since the chemical energy is nearly all transformed into heat energy. This reaction is illustrated in the flame of the oxyhydrogen blowpipe. The flame of the oxyacetylene torchoxyacetylene torch
, tool that mixes and burns oxygen and acetylene to produce an extremely hot flame. This torch can be used for cutting steel and for welding iron and various other metals. The temperature of the flame can reach as high as 6,300°F; (3,480°C;).
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 is also extremely hot. A decrease in light with an increase in heat is brought about in the Bunsen burnerBunsen burner,
gas burner, commonly used in scientific laboratories, consisting essentially of a hollow tube which is fitted vertically around the flame and which has an opening at the base to admit air. A smokeless, nonluminous flame of high temperature is produced.
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 flame (a more complex flame) by mixing the combustible gas with air before it is ignited. Flames become more complex as the combustible gas increases in complexity, since an increasing number of chemical reactions are involved. Three zones, for example, are apparent in the Bunsen burner flame: an inner zone of unburned gas; a middle zone called the reduction zone or reducing flame, since there the supply of oxygen is deficient and the oxygen is therefore removed from an oxide placed in it; and an outer, or oxidizing, zone. The candle flame is extremely complex. Several zones can be observed: a nonluminous inner portion where the melted wax produces gases; a middle area where the gases are decomposed to hydrogen, which burns, and carbon, which is heated to incandescence; and an outer, hardly visible region in which combustion is complete (carbon dioxide and water being formed). Flames are colored by the introduction of various substances, a fact utilized in the flame testflame test,
test used in the identification of certain metals. It is based on the observation that light emitted by any element gives a unique spectrum when passed through a spectroscope.
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 for the identification of certain metals.


A hot, luminous reaction front (or wave) in a gaseous medium into which the reactants flow and out of which the products flow.


A hot (usually luminous) zone of gas and/or particulate matter in gaseous suspension that is undergoing combustion.


1. a hot usually luminous body of burning gas often containing small incandescent particles, typically emanating in flickering streams from burning material or produced by a jet of ignited gas
2. the state or condition of burning with flames
3. a strong reddish-orange colour


To rant, to speak or write incessantly and/or rabidly on some relatively uninteresting subject or with a patently ridiculous attitude or with hostility toward a particular person or group of people. "Flame" is used as a verb ("Don't flame me for this, but..."), a flame is a single flaming message, and "flamage" /flay'm*j/ the content.

Flamage may occur in any medium (e.g. spoken, electronic mail, Usenet news, World-Wide Web). Sometimes a flame will be delimited in text by marks such as "<flame on>...<flame off>".

The term was probably independently invented at several different places.

Mark L. Levinson says, "When I joined the Harvard student radio station (WHRB) in 1966, the terms flame and flamer were already well established there to refer to impolite ranting and to those who performed it. Communication among the students who worked at the station was by means of what today you might call a paper-based Usenet group. Everyone wrote comments to one another in a large ledger. Documentary evidence for the early use of flame/flamer is probably still there for anyone fanatical enough to research it."

It is reported that "flaming" was in use to mean something like "interminably drawn-out semi-serious discussions" (late-night bull sessions) at Carleton College during 1968-1971.

Usenetter Marc Ramsey, who was at WPI from 1972 to 1976, says: "I am 99% certain that the use of "flame" originated at WPI. Those who made a nuisance of themselves insisting that they needed to use a TTY for "real work" came to be known as "flaming asshole lusers". Other particularly annoying people became "flaming asshole ravers", which shortened to "flaming ravers", and ultimately "flamers". I remember someone picking up on the Human Torch pun, but I don't think "flame on/off" was ever much used at WPI." See also asbestos.

It is possible that the hackish sense of "flame" is much older than that. The poet Chaucer was also what passed for a wizard hacker in his time; he wrote a treatise on the astrolabe, the most advanced computing device of the day. In Chaucer's "Troilus and Cressida", Cressida laments her inability to grasp the proof of a particular mathematical theorem; her uncle Pandarus then observes that it's called "the fleminge of wrecches." This phrase seems to have been intended in context as "that which puts the wretches to flight" but was probably just as ambiguous in Middle English as "the flaming of wretches" would be today. One suspects that Chaucer would feel right at home on Usenet.


To communicate emotionally via electronic means. Just as people might argue what is polite behavior and what is not, whether an email message or blog post is flaming or not is also in the eye of the beholder. Vulgar cursing would definitely be flaming, however. See netiquette, Internet troll, flame war and holy war.
References in periodicals archive ?
The phone burst into flames and was almost burnt, injuring Jashid, who sought treatment at a private hospital.
So they started the auxiliary generator and it burst into flames."
Main and above: The Vauxhall Zafira after it burst into flames PICTURE: MEL HUGHES
Car with the 52 DJ 057 plate number, driven by Abdullah Dedecan, burst into flames abruptly with an unknown reason.
When the furniture snagged the power line the bus burst into flames and crashed into a tree on Sunday.
The patrol says the plane began its ascent, then crashed outside the airport and burst into flames. The occupants were trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene.
Firefighters tackle a fire after a van burst into flames in Ferndale, Rhondda.
Alaska: Ten people were killed on Sunday when a floatplane crashed and burst into flames at an airport in the Alaska Kenai Peninsula town of Soldotna, officials said.
The state news agency said this week that fuel was leaking from the kerosene heater in the classroom and it burst into flames. Previous stories said the heater was defective and burst into flames when it was being removed from the classroom.
A FAMILY-of-five were lucky not to be seriously injured after their car burst into flames while they sat inside.
A TRAINEE pilot threw himself out of his out-of-control microlight moments before it crashed and burst into flames, a new report says.
Summary: One prospective Lamborghini Aventador owner has had a lucky escape, after his vehicle burst into flames on a test drive.