F-Zero Match Factory
F-Zero Match Factory

How does the Safety Matches Work?

Safety matches must be rubbed on the matchbox to burn, even if the match head is hit with a hammer, it will not catch fire. The earliest matches were "burn when you rub". Friction with any rough surface can make a fire. Even if a mouse bites the head of the match, it will burn; if it is hit with a hammer, it may explode.

The ignition principle of safety matches, including long safety matches, is that a chemical substance on the match reacts with a chemical substance on the matchbox. The heat generated by rubbing matches triggers this chemical reaction. If the match head is not in contact with the friction surface, the match will not burn.

The basic principle behind matchstick ignition involves generating friction to create a spark that ignites match strike paper. This harks back to a time when people had to drill wood to create a fire. However, modern society has brought about significant changes in the way matches are made. For instance, most matches available today are safety matches, including common gift matches or images matches. They are designed to light up only when rubbed against a specific spot, minimizing the risk of accidental fires.

Now, matches are made with automated machines. The production capacity reaches 2 million pieces per hour, and matches are packed into boxes for later use. The production of standard matches is to first cut the logs into small sticks, each about 2.5 mm thick, then cut the small sticks into match sticks, and soak them in ammonium carbonate, which is to ensure that the sticks do not smoulder.

The match stick is inserted by a machine into a long steel strip with holes that moves constantly, and the end is immersed in hot paraffin; then the paraffin penetrates into the fibers of the wood, which can help the flame to burn from the outer layer of the match head to the top of the match stick. Then, the match is immersed in the mixture for making the match head. The match head of a safety match contains sulfur and potassium chlorate. Sulfur is used to produce flames, and potassium chlorate is used to supply oxygen.

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