Culture

Science: Flaming Orange

Flaming Orange

The flaming orange is not to be confused with the nickname of your redheaded gay uncle. The flashing orange is also not to be confused with the nickname of your redheaded, trench coat-wearing, sunglasses-sporting, To Catch a Predator uncle. The flaming orange is the effect that occurs when you squeeze an orange peel onto an open flame. Check out the video (don’t mind the guy’s dirty fingernails) and I will explain why it happens below.

 

How It Works: When the orange peel is squeezed, orange oil is released onto the flame. Over 90% of orange oil is composed of limonene. Limonene is the compound that gives the orange and other citrus their scent. It just so happens that limonene is also flammable. When the limonene makes contact with fire, a combustion occurs which is why you see the flame flare up. I learned something new today and hope you did too.