Safety matches need their scratch strip!

Safety matches were invented a long time after the first match. They were invented to prevent the matches from self ignition. Before, matches were dangerous, because they could light themselves at any time. Simply rubbing them against a pants leg could light them. Today’s safety matches need to have the scratch strip on the package to provoke the reactions that light the match. The tip of the match is made from glass powder and red phosphorus, while on the scratch strip there is sulfur of antimony, manganese dioxide and potassium chlorate. By scratching the match against the strip, the red phosphorus is turned to white phosphorus. This causes a chain of chemical reactions that light the match. This little stick of wood is not as simple as it looks!


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