Is flour flammable?

In this brief blog, we will address the query,”Is flour flammable?” We will look at the reason that makes flour flammable based on its chemical composition. We will also discuss some common foods that are highly flammable.

Is flour flammable?

Yes, flour is flammable and can catch fires and in some circumstances it can even result in an explosion. This is because flour has a high surface area similar to powder which translates to a higher air to fuel ratio.

Flour’s main component is starch which is a type of carb. When flours particles get suspended in the air freely they can result in an explosion if there is available heat and this can result in them burning instantly and also transferring the heat to close particles at a very faster rate. This can result in an explosion which is known as dust explosion.

Why is flour flammable?

Flour has been used for a very long time and has been a key ingredient in many households for baking purposes  as far as 6000 BC when wheat grains were first crushed using the old fashioned millstones.

Flour is usually produced by milling dry grains that have been pulverized and comes in the form of a powdery substance.  Many different types of grains can be made into flour such as corn making corn flour which is popular in many African cuisines to make maize meal a staple in a lot of african countries.

However, the most common varieties of flour are produced from wheat such as the all-purpose flour and also bread flour.

In order to understand why flour is flammable we require to look at its chemical composition. As previously mentioned the main component of flour is usually starch which is a carb.

Carbs are organic compounds which means that they have a carbon main skeleton. Their formula is Cx(H2O)y. In a 100 grams of flour there is about 25 percent of carbs, 20 percent of proteins and about 10 percent of fiber. The remainder of the nutrients are largely dependent on the grain that is milled.

If a hydrocarbon comes into contact with other elements necessary to cause fire which are oxygen and heat then they will certainly result in combustion and burn. The reaction produces C02 gas and water. 

Another explanation for the flammability of hydrocarbons is the presence of electrons which are present in the orbitals of the Carbon-Hydrogen and Carbon-Carbon bonds of the reactant. These bonds have more energy than the electrons in the orbitals of the Carbon-Oxygen and Oxygen-Hydrogen bonds of the respective products. 

Therefore these bonds will tend to break free from the main sugar chain and as a result release Carbon dioxide and water.

What other foods are flammable?

Aside from flour, there are other common foods that are also highly flammable, let’s take a look at a couple of them.

Bacon

As a rule of thumb, foods that are protein desne and also have a high fat content tend to be flammable. This is because they release grease as they are being cooked and when the meat burns it results in oil splashing out of the cooking pan.

It is advised that you do not let the grease escape and this can be done by cooking with a deep pan so that it contains all the fats. Also ensure that you discard any old grease if you are cooking a lot of bacon and use a fresh batch. Ensure that the old batch of oil is kept far enough from the cooking stove

Alcohol based sauces

This is a no brainer, alcohol is very flammable and therefore alcohol-based sauces such as marsala and sherry are flammable.These flames are controllable but you should ensure that you don’t keep the sauces very close to the cooking stove as they can result in an explosion of the entire bottle.

Garlic

This food contains a lot of natural oils so it also burns much faster and also pops when it is placed in a hot pan which results in the oil splattering into the burner.

You can avoid the risk of explosion by ensuring that you saute it very lightly and slowly.

To learn which other foods as well as household items are flammable click here.

Conclusion

In this brief blog, we have addressed the query,”Is flour flammable?” We have looked at the reason that makes flour flammable based on its chemical composition. We have also discussed some common foods that are highly flammable.

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