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Old 06-25-2018, 04:38 PM   #16
ilikefood
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Originally Posted by bergmen View Post
I didn't realize magnesium would spark when it hit a rock. I know steel will, but never heard of magnesium doing the same.

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Magnesium generates a lot of sparks, a lot more than steel. That's why camping/survival fire starter sticks are made of magnesium.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ilikefood View Post
Magnesium generates a lot of sparks, a lot more than steel. That's why camping/survival fire starter sticks are made of magnesium.
The ones I've seen have you shave chips of magnesium (especially onto dry grass) and use a flint and steel to generate sparks. The magnesium is not used to generate sparks.

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Old 06-25-2018, 06:26 PM   #18
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man that would be cool to drag knee near a line of gasoline and set it off, of course in a controlled environment =P
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:37 AM   #19
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The ones I've seen have you shave chips of magnesium (especially onto dry grass) and use a flint and steel to generate sparks. The magnesium is not used to generate sparks.

Dan
Magnesium still burns like crazy.

A high friction event is all that is necessary for anything to burn.
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:47 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ilikefood View Post
Magnesium generates a lot of sparks, a lot more than steel. That's why camping/survival fire starter sticks are made of magnesium.
Isn't it iron oxidising that causes the sparks for campfire strikers.
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:53 AM   #21
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Magnesium still burns like crazy.

A high friction event is all that is necessary for anything to burn.
Yes it does, I know that. The question is whether magnesium can generate sparks so it can catch grass on fire. I did not see in the article where the pedal caught fire starting the range fire.

I can see where a magnesium part can catch fire due to friction (aircraft landing gear components on the Lockheed P2V-7 were once made from magnesium until a tire blew, friction with the runway started it on fire and it burned the plane up. The material was changed as a result).

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Old 06-26-2018, 07:01 AM   #22
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I doubt that magnesium would produce sparks as it is very soft. More then likely, the P2V fire was the result of the landing gear's steel components produced sparks that ignited the magnesium components.
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Old 06-26-2018, 08:57 AM   #23
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A friend of mine was caught in a fire up in Tahoe a couple of years ago which he saw being started by a mountain biker ahead of him scraping a pedal. They all did their best to put it out, but it got away from them, and they had to get the heck out of there.

Of course, this is just one anecdote you're hearing from a rando on a web forum, but I trust this guy (he'd have no reason to lie).

So it certainly can (and does) happen.

Mind you, I'm not getting low enough to scrape anything on my 'proper' bike on the asphalt.
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Old 06-26-2018, 10:57 AM   #24
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I don't see why y'all are so hung up on what metal the guy's pedal was made out of

The point is that an investigation concluded a mountain biker's pedal struck a rock, generating a spark that ignited the wildfire in 2016.
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Old 06-26-2018, 11:18 AM   #25
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I don't see why y'all are so hung up on what metal the guy's pedal was made out of

The point is that an investigation concluded a mountain biker's pedal struck a rock, generating a spark that ignited the wildfire in 2016.
Agree, it's a PSA to be careful. Don't make sparks.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:28 PM   #26
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I had never drawn the auto-ignition connection between things like flint and steel. Had never really thought about it, to be honest. Knew about it a little with respect to stuff like grignard reagents for use in organic chemistry etc... but not sparks. One fun little wikipedia article, and I was slightly more educated. I'm guessing any exposed metal oxidizes very fast, but the amount of oxidation relative to the overall surface area is minor for a big chunk of metal, for example... Thus random scraped metal doesn't tend to burn. When you've got a small thin shaving with a large surface area to mass ratio, the amount of oxidation is enough to get it quite hot. Is that it in a nutshell?

Any chemists in here want to clarify?
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:45 PM   #27
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This thread reminds me of every time I go camping.
I can't seem to be able to start any campfire without using 5 quarts of lighter fluid. I can't start a fire to save my life yet some epileptic firefly can burn down entire communities.
....and now this stuff.
Perhaps that's what I've been doing wrong, I need to include a magnesium bicycle pedal to my camping gear. Fixed.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:35 AM   #28
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Good point, never thought about it. I spend a lot of time in Lake County, so I certainly sympathize with the original poster. That place has been, and continues to be, devastated by fire.
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:10 AM   #29
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Hot mufflers can also ignite dry grass. With so many modern bikes having much of the exhaust system spread across the bottom of the engine and frame, riders should be extra careful when stopping on the side of the road or at turnouts during fire season.
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Old 07-01-2018, 06:41 AM   #30
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Hot mufflers can also ignite dry grass. With so many modern bikes having much of the exhaust system spread across the bottom of the engine and frame, riders should be extra careful when stopping on the side of the road or at turnouts during fire season.
As can hot brakes.

A guy I know was in a car on a spirited drive, second in line. The guy in front of him went off the road and ended up upside down, down a ravine. He pulls over and goes to help... and his brakes light the dry grass, the car and hillside ends up engulfed.

The guy who crashed was lucky that he ended up upside down, that meant that no hot parts were in contact with the grass so he didn't burn. Car was beat up enough that they had to break windows to get him out.
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