F-Zero Match Factory
F-Zero Match Factory

How Are Matchbooks Made?

1. Make matchsticks


The cardboard used in the matchbooks is recycled waste cardboard, and a press machine cuts the recycled thick cardboard into long strips.


2. Hot wax treatment of matchbooks


The matchstick is then 1/3 dipped in hot wax and then placed in the oven to dry for 15 seconds. The wax on the matchstick can slow down the rate at which the chemical burns when the match is lit, that is, it keeps the flame going for four or five seconds.


3. Match head for making matchbooks


In fact, there are many raw materials in the match head mixture: gelatin and silica as binders, potassium chlorate and animal protein for oxidation, sulfur for combustion, and two other fillers, and sometimes manganese dioxide is added as a catalyst.


4. Air-drying of matchbooks


The dipped match heads pass through a 350-meter-long assembly line full of fans to dry the heads. Also, the factory sets the temperature at 22°C, which is the optimum temperature for the mixture on the match head to harden and dry.


The production of the fire stick is mainly to make the wet ignition paste first. The outer layer of the matchbox of the matchbook is coated with red phosphorus and silicon dioxide, and a little glue is added to make the ignition paste.


When the match is struck, the heat generated by friction will heat the potassium chlorate (decompose to produce a small amount of oxygen), and the red phosphorus in contact with the potassium chlorate will ignite and then cause the flammable sulfur on the head of the match to burn, so that the match is lit.


The paper of the matchbox is generally printed with various patterns and commodity information first, and then the steel wheel will spread the ignition slurry on the paper when it passes through the cutting machine. Then use a cutter with a rotating blade to cut the paper to the appropriate size, and this is the matchbox for the unfolded matchbooks.


5. Packaging matchbooks


Rows of matchsticks are sent and put together with the paper box, and then the matchsticks and the matchbox are cut. The machine then folds the matchbox like a piece of paper to wrap the match, and finally secures it with a strong stapler.


We know that matchbooks first generate heat due to friction, and then use the combination of strong oxidants and reducing agents to ignite the flame. The early matches used white phosphorus, which would catch fire when the temperature reached 40°C, and the act of igniting at that time was a friction.


Both the oxidizing agent and the reducing agent are made together on the head of the match, which has a great risk of spontaneous combustion, and the old-fashioned match produces a disgusting poisonous stench when it is lit.


It was not until 1855 that the Swedish J.E. Lundstrom developed the red phosphorus safety matches we use today. After replacing white phosphorus with red phosphorus, the strong oxidizing agent and reducing agent are also adhered separately to matchsticks and matchboxes.


In this way, the individual ingredients will not spontaneously combust, and the production and storage of matchsticks is safer, and this production method is gradually adopted by countries around the world.

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