P1_4 Matchstick Magic

Jemima Tranter, Nicholas Holt, Jeremy Murphy, Kieran Roberts


Magicians often perform a trick where they appear to strike a match in thin air. The purpose of this paper is to examine the feasibility of lighting a match by means of only the friction provided by air. While the original trick is successful via misdirection, our results reveal that in order to legitimately perform such a feat, one would need to strike a match at a speed of 158.140m/s. Simply dropping the match, even if it could reach terminal velocity, would fail to ignite it.

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