Difference Between Fire and Flame

Fire vs Flame

The words fire and flame bring to our minds images that both of destruction (through wildfires) and safe use of energy (through a gas stove). These words are often confusing for many as they find fabrics in market that claim to be flame resistant and fire retardant. There are many who think of fire and flame to be one and the same thing, which is incorrect. If there are similarities, there are enough differences between fire and flame also. These differences will be highlighted in this article.

We all know what a fire is, or at least this is what we think. It is oxidation of organic material in the process of combustion which causes release of energy in the form of heat and light. Thus flame is the visible part (light) in the process called fire. This kind of rapid oxidation is different from other types where the process is very slow and is not accompanied by any flame or heat such as corrosion. Flames are actually gases that are burning and are at a very high temperature. There are different types of fires, and the color of the flame is always dependent upon the material that is burning and how intense fire is. When fire is controlled such as in a gas stove, we can see the flame being blue in color with the central part being yellow red. But when fire is uncontrolled as in forest fires, the color of flames is always reddish and yellow. The color of the flame is always indicative of the temperatures that get generated in the process of fire.

So now we know that flame is the visible part of a fire that is in gaseous state. When the temperatures become too high, this flame can reach a plasma state as the gases getting burnt get ionized.

We know how brave firemen save lives of many by putting out fires that engulf building and other structures. These are people who wear clothes made of special fabrics that are flame resistant. There are several chemicals that are called fire retardant. Though these words sound as same, they are quite different properties. A fabric is said to be flame resistant when it resists ignition and has the ability to extinguish itself if it has been ignited. A fabric is made flame resistant by using chemical substances that are fire retardants.

A fire fighter can pass through naked flames when he is wearing flame resistant clothes and is wearing oxygen mask. His dress is so designed to resist the effects of fire for a longer duration than ordinary clothes.

In brief:

Difference Between Fire and Flame

• Flame is the visible part of a fire

• Fire is rapid oxidation of materials caused by combustion

• Flames are actually hot glowing gases

• The color of flames is dependent upon the material burning and the temperature of fire

• Fire can be controlled as in a gas stove, or uncontrolled as in flagrance