Saturday, June 22, 2013

Science Sunday: The Black After the Fire

This should be a relatively short one.  The other day, this question popped into my mind: Why is it that when things burn, they turn black?  Physically, what exactly happens when something is being burned that causes that blackness to be left behind, and what is that blackness?  The answer that made the most sense to me at first thought was that the blackness that was left behind was probably some form of carbon.  Firstly, materials of pure carbon tend to appear blackish (e.g. graphite), except when their atomic bonds are arranged in the tetrahedra that create diamonds.