The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Ignition Temperature of Paper

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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The Non-Burning £5 Note. Chemistry Film Studio, 1996-2002. "The water in the alcohol-water mixture evaporates and keeps the temperature below the ignition temperature of paper (approximately 230, but science fiction fans might remember this as 'Fahrenheit 451' - the temperature conversion could be an exercise for students)." 230 °C
Annual Report 1997-1998: Personnel. Village of Gurnee [IL] Fire Department, 1997-1998. "The ignition temperature of paper is 451 degrees Fahrenheit." 233 °C
Heath, Peter D. 11.7.1 Material Specifications. 2002. "Paper, Dry
Temperature of Ignition = 451 °F"
233 °C
Readings on Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury 2000 119. "Fahrenheit 451: The Temperature at Which Book Paper Catches Fire, and Burns" 233 °C
Homework Assignment 23. Physics 101 Chapter 15 - Heat Transfer, November 1998. "The water temperature will not rise above 212 °F. This is well below the ignition temperature of paper (about 451 °F). If you read Fahrenheit 451, a novel about book burning, you will recognize this temperature." 233 °C

Paper is a material made of cellulose pulp, created mainly from wood, rags, and certain grasses, processed into sheets or rolls by deposits from an aqueous suspension. According to history, the first piece of paper was produced in 105 CE in China. At first, paper production was available in China only, but eventually the process spread throughout the world. Over time, the process has been refined and edited by incorporating the latest technology. Presently, the United States and Canada are the world's largest paper producers, as Finland and Japan produce the most significant amount of pulp and other paper products. Paper has many purposes, both recreational and business. Paper is used mainly for writing, drawing, printing, and for various coverings such as wallpaper. Even though we don't realize it, paper is a necessity in our professional lives, whether we use it to write our daily plans and records, or use it to do other writing assignments. There are many different paper products, from paper folders, to playing cards, to wallpaper or even bathroom tissue and junk mail. Among the various types of paper available, the surface is basically either smooth and glossy or rough and plain. But despite the type of paper, the chemical and physical properties are roughly the same.

Ignition temperature is the temperature at which something catches fire and burns on its own. The ignition temperature of paper is 451 degrees Fahrenheit, or 233 degrees Celsius.

Many people know this value from the Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451, an anti-utopian tale about a society where firemen are in charge of burning books instead of stopping fires. This number was also found in more technical sources, so it is assumed to be reliable.

Lewis Chung -- 2003