Tonight (Wed) Jay Leno had a physicist on who did all kinds of
experiments with fire. He took a cylinder that was basically a wire
mesh, like screen wire, wrapped into a cylinder...I estimate the
diameter was about 3' and the height/length was about 4-5 feet.
This cylinder had a disc of wood attached to the bottom of the wire and
this wood had a hole in it about 6" in diameter.
A fireproof platform was on a table that had some material on it which
he lit. It put out smoke, not like burning acetylene but enough that
you could see it. The flame from this material must have been 2 feet
high just writhing as it burned on the platform...
Now this platform had a motor attached to it that spun the platform at a
slow speed which he did not report. He placed the wire mesh on top of
the platform so that the hole in the disc of wood at the bottom, passed
over the burning material.
He turned on the motor and the flame became entrained in this marvelous
vortex that extended it so that it was now a beam of fire surely 6 feet
high...hard to judge but it was amazing...and the fire was very white.
He explained that the rotation of the mesh cylinder cause the air to
produce a vortex, collimating the flame (my words) which were moving at
a higher velocity and THROWING OUT THE SMOKE particles to the rim where
the wire mesh was....it was pretty slick and elicited oohs and aahs from
It reminded me of the German(?) fellow who had the clear water bottle,
about 5 gallons (the Centripete) that had a vortex produced in it, found
it again by doing a search at http://www.37.com on 'centripete' as
Both the flame and water methods are intriguing because they separate
denser particles/mass by centrifugal force.
He shut all this down, then showed a tank of methane gas with a tube
leading out and into a U shape so that it fed into the bottom of a jug
of water. It looked like a milk carton that had the top and handle cut
The physicist said BOB BECK had shown him this trick!! No one asked who
he was but it was neat hearing his name mentioned. Bob is a physicist
and an amazing inventor. Last I heard he still lived in LA. Beck is
responsible for the Brain Tuner and the electronic blood purifier which
spawned so many copies and versions. He used to live in Dallas but I
didn't know him at that time, though met him at a couple of conferences
and he offered to return to Dallas for a lecture if his knees healed
up...he has some kind of degradation which I suspect has now been
Anyway, the methane bubbled up through the bottom of this jug of water
and foam appeared and starting growing into a column that he commented
looked like cartoon character Marge Simpsons hair. It just kept growing
and growing into a column that wavered a bit but did not fall...he said
it could reach 6 feet and still grow....
The methane and bubbles make it lighter than air so he separate a chunk
of the foam, about 2 feet high, then before it floated away, he ignited
it with his propane torche and it made a marvelous burst of flame.
He then had Jay Leno reach out and take a handful of this methanized
foam, explaining that the water of the bubbles would protect his hands
from the flame...sure enough, he ignited it and it rose as it burst into
That would work with hydrogen too, except that hydrogen is invisible so
you'd have to be very careful.
-- Jerry Wayne Decker / firstname.lastname@example.org http://keelynet.com / "From an Art to a Science" Voice : (214) 324-8741 / FAX : (214) 324-3501 KeelyNet - PO BOX 870716 - Mesquite - Republic of Texas - 75187