The amazing magical throwable fire extinguisher … how does it work??
Someone sent me this video on Twitter and they were a little confused. Essentially, it’s an anti-fire grenade, that when thrown into a blaze seems to magically extinguish it.
What’s going on? Have the Japanese invented some magical black magicks that return the cursed flames to their own fiery dimension?
Nope, it’s just simple chemistry. The canisters look like this:
They are filled with a mix of chemicals, usually the following (or similar): Urea, ammonium chloride, ammonium sulfate and sodium carbonate. Under the heat of a fire, the grenade breaks and the following reaction happens:
You can see that it creates lots of carbon dioxide, which starves the fire of oxygen, and ammonia, which has a cooling effect. Some versions even add in a fine inert powder that coats surfaces in a fire-protectant film.
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.