How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 168

Can a flame occur in space outside a spacecraft, where there is no oxygen? Can it burn or explode there?
For a piece of fuel to burn, it needs a source of oxygen. In open space, there is no oxygen and thus no way for fuel alone to burn. However, materials such as gunpowder that contain both a fuel and an oxidizing agent can burn in open space. In fact, because they don't rely on convection to bring new oxygen into the flame and to carry the burned gases away from the flame, such materials burn almost exactly the same way in space as they do on earth.

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