General Question

luigirovatti's avatar

Does fire burn sand?

Asked by luigirovatti (1989points) April 15th, 2016

Does fire burn sand?

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11 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

No. A very intense fire may melt sand, but sand is extremely refractory and won’t burn.

ibstubro's avatar

A more traditional use would be fire melting sand into glass.

luigirovatti's avatar

Ah, thanks. And, while we’re at it, does electricity corrode, frazzle, sand?

thorninmud's avatar

Nope. As @ibstubro mentioned, glass is essentially sand in a non-crystalline form, and glass is used as an electrical insulator in high voltage transmission lines.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Lightning will fuse sand into glass

ibstubro's avatar

I hope we get an A!

thorninmud's avatar

Yep, it’s called fulgurite and looks like this

ragingloli's avatar

Sand, a.k.a. SiO2, is burnt silicon.
So, no.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace @thorninmud just posted links to pictures of them.

cazzie's avatar

I’m glad someone posted a picture. Those are caused by lightning strikes and you can buy them on etsy or ebay. My BBE studies lightning, so I asked him about Lichenberg figures and if they were real. They seemed fake to me because of how beautiful they are. He said they were absolutely real and they presented one at the retirement of a past Laboratory Chief (now he’s the chief) . You can read about them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichtenberg_figure

They happen in insulation material, but less dramatic because it isn’t done on purpose under controlled conditions. They used to use glass, but much of what we see now is porcelain. The glass was a strengthen, tempered glass, like Pyrex. when it breaks it shatters because of the pent strength in the glass and makes these types of material less desirable (if you want to learn about the physics of this you can read here: It based on the principal of ‘Prince Ruperts Drop’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe-f4gokRBs

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