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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Are Spices Flammable?

Is Cinnamon Flammable? - Science - ChefSteps



Made from the dried bark of Cinnamomum verum, a tree indigenous to Sri Lanka, cinnamon's exotic perfume and subtle flavor come from its two major components: cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. These two chemicals are volatile, meaning they readily vaporize at temperatures comfortable to humans, which is in fact why cinnamon is so fragrant. But those same vapors are also highly combustible (indeed, combustion only happens in the presence of vapors), making cinnamon a highly flammable material under the right conditions.

Now a cloud of cinnamon dust isn’t the kind of thing most people would consider dangerous, but add enough heat and you’ll quickly have an expanding ball of fire known as a dust explosion. For dealing with this situation, we can only recommend a good pair of running shoes. In fact, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues warnings about cinnamon explosions in food manufacturing plants. Here, we filmed cinnamon’s flammable properties at 5000 frames per second, but warning: you might not want to try this at home.
 

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