FavoritesEverday Marvels

How do matches work?

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To learn about how matches work, the first thing you should do is rub the palms of your hands together quickly. The term for rubbing two surfaces against each other (in this case, the palms of your hands) is known as "friction." Doing this creates energy, and energy (believe it or not!) creates heat! Do you feel the warmth that rubbing your hands together creates?

A match works in a similar way, except with a few special chemicals involved too. The red tip of a match is covered in some special products, such as red phosphorus, sulfur, and powdered glass. The rough strip on the matchbox is made with special products too, such as more powdered glass. When the tip of a match is struck against this special surface, the friction between the two creates heat that ignites the the match tip, which then in turn passes its heat and fire along to the wood of the matchstick!

Remember that because fire is very dangerous, matches are for Grown-ups Only. Always be safe and never, ever play with matches!

Exploration

Getting Hot! Have you ever heard about "solar power"? Solar power is the idea that we can use the heat of the sun as energy for things we need, instead of other energy such as electricity! Have you ever seen a "solar panel" that gathers together the heat and rays of sunlight? What would be some advantages and disadvantages to using this kind of energy??