We keep a box of matches at work, not so much for smokers (although they ask for them sometimes), but more for birthday parties who forget them and can’t otherwise light the candles on their cake. (This is surprisingly common.) The other night we ran out, so I got a new box from the closet.
And that got me thinking… Matches are basically ignited by friction, no?
If you took a box of matches and threw it at the ground, really really hard, would it ignite? And would a box full of matchbooks burn as much as I’m thinking? (I think it all depends on one thing: will two matchheads, rubbed together with sufficient force, ignite each other?)
As much as I’d like to find out, I’d also rather not burn down any buildings, so I’ll leave this one for the experts. But experts, will it burn?
Friction heat requires resistance. I suspect that matches are smooth enough that you would be hard pressed to build up enough friction to set them off. Once list though they should burn like (you should forgive the expression) a house on fire.
This is one for Mythbusters, perhaps.