GOLD

What is the most efficient way to put out a kitchen fire and how much material do you need?

I experimented with fire and 4 materials (water, baking soda, salt, and a lid) to see which material can put out a fire the fastest. I also tested how much of each material I put, for the fire to be completely put out.
Purvi Srinivas
Grade 6

Hypothesis

*Hypothesis for on my first experiment*

I predict that according to my research, the lid will be the most efficient, out of the 4 materials, to put out the fire. According to research, oxygen is significant to fire because it acts as fuel and by using a lid and blocking oxygen in getting contact with the fire, there will be lots of carbon dioxide and no oxygen to fuel the fire. Oxygen acts as fuel while carbon dioxide kills the fire.

*Hypothesis for my second experiment*

I know from the last experiment that the baking soda acted most efficient and used the least amount of material to put out the fire so I predict that the baking soda will be the most efficient this time too. I predict this because according to my research when baking soda is burned it releases carbon dioxide which kills the fire. Even though with the lid you are left with carbon dioxide too I think baking soda will work fastest because it takes time for the oxygen to be fully cut out and the carbon dioxide to completely be released for the lid, while with the baking soda the process happens faster. According to my experiment results, there is an average of 10 seconds difference between the baking soda and the lid, the lid being 10 seconds after the baking soda. 

Research

Research

How do fires work?

  • A fire starts with 3 main ingredients, heat, a fuel source, and oxygen. When the atoms in the fuel heat up they rub together until they break bonds that hold them together and release as volatile gases. The volatile gases react with oxygen and create a lot of heat. This reaction keeps happening until the fuel runs out. The flames are the release of some of the heat energy as light.

What materials are most flammable?

  • Cellulose Fabrics, such as Linen, and cotton are most flammable because the fire burns them down fast since the material is so thin. The thicker the materials are, the longer the fire takes to burn them down because there is more material to burn down. This is the same if you burn paper because the paper is really thin and sometimes can be partially made of cellulose.

Materials in a Fire extinguisher:

  • Potassium bicarbonate - An alkaline mineral that is found in supplement form. It is found in many foods such as fruits and vegetables. The potassium bicarbonate reacts with an acid in the fire extinguisher and creates carbon dioxide, which kills the fire.
  • Liquid Water
  • Evaporating fluorocarbon (bromochlorodifluoromethane/ Halon 1211) - Halon 1211 is a haloalkane that is used for suppressing fires.

Research on the suppressants I tested in the experiment:

  • Air/Oxygen:
  • Oxygen helps chemical producers that happen during a fire. When the fuel in the fire ignites, it reacts with oxygen and makes combustion products (smoke, gases, etc.).
  • Research on the materials I tested:
  • Baking Soda:
  • When baking soda is burned, it releases carbon dioxide which kills the fire.
  • Salt:
  • Salt creates a barrier around the fire which prevents oxygen from getting in contact with fire.
  • Lid:
  • The lid blocks oxygen from getting in contact with the fire and the fire slowly loses fuel and burns out.
  • Water:
  • Water cools down the fire and soon it completely puts it out. The water also smothers the fire like salt and the lid from an oxygen source.

Wildfires:

  • What is the natural cause of wildfires? 
  • Lightning is one of the main causes of wildfires. When it strikes on trees or branches it starts a fire as wood is fuel for the fire. This fire can spread throughout the forest.

What materials are used in a lighter?

  • The main material used in a lighter is gasoline vapours. Liquid gasoline is explosive, so the vapours are a safer alternative. The lighter also has a piece of flint that is used to create a spark. 

House Fires in Canada:

  • An average of 24,000 house fires happens in Canada every year, resulting in 3,048 injuries and 377 deaths on average.
  • If you have the right materials, you can put out small kitchen fires that may lead to a bigger house fire.
  • The leading cause of most house fires in Canada is by cooking fires.

Variables

Manipulated (independent) Variables:

  • The different fire suppressants; Baking Soda, Water, Salt, & lid

Responding (depending) Variables:

  • Time took to put out the fire
  • Amount of suppressant took to put out the fire

Controlled variable:

  • The time between each tablespoon of suppressant
  • Start the fire with the same materials (matches)
  • The same amount of fuel used for the fire (dryer lint)
  • The same-sized tin container used for the fire

Procedure

Materials: 

  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Lid
  • Cellulose material (cotton, linen, etc.)- fuel for the fire
  • Sticks/wood- fuel for the fire
  • Foil Container- Place to make a fire
  • Matches/lighters- fire starter

Procedure:

  1. Gather all the materials
  2. Start a fire using your fire starters and cellulose material in the foil container
  3. Then start a timer and record the amount of time and amount of material that was needed to put out the fire
  4. Stop the timer when the fire is completely put out
  5. Repeat for all of the 4 materials
  6. Do each material 3 times for a stronger result and conclusion
  7. Safely, Get rid of all material that may accidently start a fire

 

Make sure this experiment is done outside to prevent any accidents with fire.

 

 

Observations

(graph in attachments)

Test #1:

Material:

Time took to put out the fire:

Amount  of material:

Water

7.8 seconds

3 tbsp

Baking Soda

2.7 seconds

1 tbsp

Salt

13.6

5 tbsp

Lid

6.2

N/A

 

Test #2:

Material:

Time took to put out the fire:

Amount of material:

Water

5.3 seconds

2 tbsp

Baking Soda

2.8 seconds

1 tbsp

Salt

10.8 seconds

3 tbsp

Lid

6.6 seconds

N/A

 

Test #3:

 

Material:

Time took to put out the fire:

Amount of material:

Water

5.6 seconds

2 tbsp

Baking soda

3.1 seconds

2 tbsp

Salt

11.3 seconds

4 tbsp

Lid

5.8 seconds

N/A

Analysis

  • Errors:
  • The experiment should have been done in a controlled environment.
  • Next Steps:
  • Do experiment in a controlled area with the same wind pressure
  • So what, why should you care?
  • An average of 24,000 house fires happens in Canada every year, resulting in 3,048 injuries and 377 deaths on average.
  • If you have the right materials, you can put out small kitchen fires that may lead to a bigger house fire.
  • The leading cause of most house fires in Canada is by cooking fires.

Conclusion

  • Evaluating on my hypothesis:
  • The hypothesis was correct because baking soda was the most efficient and took the least amount of suppressant.
  • Major Findings:
  • Baking soda took the least amount and time in all of the 3 tests. For test #1, #2 it took the least amount of material but tied with water for test #3.
  • The water took the second least amount of time for test #2, #3 and the second least amount of material for test #1, & #2 and tying with baking soda for test #3.
  • The lid second most amount of time for test #2, #3 and the second least time for #1.
  • Salt took the most time for all of the tests and the most amount of suppressant.

Application

House Fires in Canada:

  • An average of 24,000 house fires happens in Canada every year, resulting in 3,048 injuries and 377 deaths on average.
  • If you have the right materials, you can put out small kitchen fires that may lead to a bigger house fire.
  • The leading cause of most house fires in Canada is by cooking fires.

Sources Of Error

  • Errors:
  • The experiment should have been done in a controlled environment.

Citations

Websites

Acknowledgement

Ms. Karen Davis - Science Teacher in Louis Riel - gave me feedback on my project

Mrs. Jennifer Secord-Tomlin - Grade 6 GATE hub teacher from Louis Riel - guided me throughout the whole project