Saving Baby Paul

One obvious method to keep things from burning is to eliminate the O2 available to the fuel. This can be done by finding ways to separate the fuel from the O2. How? Think!

You have probably all seen a CO2 fire extinguisher work. The CO2 gas is heavier than air (and nonflammable) and forms a "blanket" that separates the fuel from the O2. Can this basic concept can be used to save Baby Paul? Look at these movie clips.

This is a video clip of a cotton ball burning.

This is a video clip of a cotton ball treated with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

The cotton ball that was treated with sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) Doesn't burn. Why? When NaHCO3 is heated it decomposes to produce CO2! The CO2 protects the cotton ball (the fuel) from the O2 just like the CO2 from a fire extinguisher.

Are there other things to do? (Of course you know there are or we wouldn't ask.)

Think about the fire triangle again.

Take a few minutes and write down a list of other things that you could do to save Baby Paul and why they would work.

Have you thought about it? OK - now look here.