Lighter
Overview
 
A lighter is a portable device used to generate a flame
Flame
A flame is the visible , gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone...

. It consists of a metal or plastic container filled with a flammable fluid or pressurized liquid gas, a means of ignition
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

, and some provision for extinguishing the flame.
The first lighters were invented in the 16th century and were converted flintlock pistols that used gunpowder. One of the first lighters was invented by the German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner was a German chemist who is best known for work that foreshadowed the periodic law for the chemical elements.- Life and work :...

 in 1823 and was often called Döbereiner's lamp
Döbereiner's lamp
Döbereiner's lamp is a lighter invented in 1823 by the German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, the lighter is based on the Fürstenberger lighter and was in production until ca. 1880. In the jar, zinc metal reacts with sulfuric acid to produce hydrogen gas. When a valve is opened, a jet of...

.
Encyclopedia
A lighter is a portable device used to generate a flame
Flame
A flame is the visible , gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone...

. It consists of a metal or plastic container filled with a flammable fluid or pressurized liquid gas, a means of ignition
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

, and some provision for extinguishing the flame.

History

The first lighters were invented in the 16th century and were converted flintlock pistols that used gunpowder. One of the first lighters was invented by the German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner was a German chemist who is best known for work that foreshadowed the periodic law for the chemical elements.- Life and work :...

 in 1823 and was often called Döbereiner's lamp
Döbereiner's lamp
Döbereiner's lamp is a lighter invented in 1823 by the German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, the lighter is based on the Fürstenberger lighter and was in production until ca. 1880. In the jar, zinc metal reacts with sulfuric acid to produce hydrogen gas. When a valve is opened, a jet of...

. This lighter worked by a reaction of hydrogen to platinum sponge, which gave off a great amount of heat. The device was very large and highly dangerous and fell out of production by the end of the 19th century.

The patenting of ferrocerium
Ferrocerium
Ferrocerium is a man-made metallic material that has the ability to give off a large number of hot sparks at temperatures at when scraped against a rough surface , such as ridged steel...

 (often misidentified as flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

) by Carl Auer von Welsbach
Carl Auer von Welsbach
Carl Auer Freiherr von Welsbach was an Austrian scientist and inventor who had a talent for not only discovering advances, but turning them into commercially successful products...

 in 1903 has made modern lighters possible. When scratched, it produces a large spark
Spark (fire)
A spark is an incandescent particle. Such sparks may be produced by pyrotechnics, by metalworking or as a by-product of fires, especially when burning wood.-Pyrotechnics:...

 which is responsible for lighting the fuel of many lighters, and is suitably inexpensive for use in disposable items.

Using Carl Auer von Welsbach's flint, companies like Ronson were able to develop practical and easy to use lighters. In 1910 Ronson released the first Pist-O-Liter and in 1913 the company developed its first lighter, called the "Wonderlite", which was a permanent match style of lighter.
The Zippo
Zippo
A Zippo lighter is a refillable, metal lighter manufactured by Zippo Manufacturing Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania, U.S. Thousands of different styles and designs have been made in the seven decades since their introduction including military ones for specific regiments.-Establishment:George G...

 lighter and company were invented and founded by George G. Blaisdell in 1932. The Zippo was noted for its reliability, "Life Time Warranty" and marketing as "Wind-Proof". Most early Zippos used naphtha as a fuel source.

In the 1950s there was a switch in fuel choice from naphtha
Naphtha
Naphtha normally refers to a number of different flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons, i.e., a component of natural gas condensate or a distillation product from petroleum, coal tar or peat boiling in a certain range and containing certain hydrocarbons. It is a broad term covering among the...

 to butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

, as butane allows for a controllable flame and has less odour. This also led to the use of piezoelectric spark
Electric spark
An electric spark is a type of electrostatic discharge that occurs when an electric field creates an ionized electrically conductive channel in air producing a brief emission of light and sound. A spark is formed when the electric field strength exceeds the dielectric field strength of air...

, which replaced the need for a flint wheel in some lighters and was used in many Ronson lighters.

Operation

Naphtha
Naphtha
Naphtha normally refers to a number of different flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons, i.e., a component of natural gas condensate or a distillation product from petroleum, coal tar or peat boiling in a certain range and containing certain hydrocarbons. It is a broad term covering among the...

 (very similar to gasoline) based lighters employ a saturated cloth wick
Candle wick
A candle wick is a string, cord, or wooden object that holds the flame of a candle. A candle wick works by capillary action, drawing the fuel to the flame. When the liquid fuel, typically melted candle wax, reaches the flame it then vaporizes and combusts. The candle wick influences how the...

 and fibre packing to absorb the fluid and prevent it from leaking. They employ an enclosed top to prevent the volatile
Volatility (chemistry)
In chemistry and physics, volatility is the tendency of a substance to vaporize. Volatility is directly related to a substance's vapor pressure. At a given temperature, a substance with higher vapor pressure vaporizes more readily than a substance with a lower vapor pressure.The term is primarily...

 liquid from evaporating, and to conveniently extinguish the flame. Butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

 lighters have a valved orifice that meters the butane gas as it escapes.

A spark is created by striking metal against a flint
Ferrocerium
Ferrocerium is a man-made metallic material that has the ability to give off a large number of hot sparks at temperatures at when scraped against a rough surface , such as ridged steel...

, or by pressing a button that compresses a piezoelectric
Piezoelectricity
Piezoelectricity is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure...

 crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

 (piezo ignition
Piezo ignition
Piezo ignition is a type of ignition that is used in portable camping stoves, gas grills and some lighters, and potato guns. It consists of a small, spring-loaded hammer which, when a button is pressed, hits a crystal of PZT or quartz crystal. Quartz is piezoelectric, which means that it creates a...

), generating an electric arc
Electric arc
An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas which produces an ongoing plasma discharge, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air. A synonym is arc discharge. An arc discharge is characterized by a lower voltage than a glow discharge, and relies on...

. In naphtha lighters, the liquid is sufficiently volatile, and flammable vapour is present as soon as the top of the lighter is opened. Butane lighters combine the striking action with the opening of the valve to release gas. The spark ignites the flammable gas causing a flame to come out of the lighter which continues until either the top is closed (naphtha type), or the valve is released (butane type).

A metal enclosure with air holes generally surrounds the flame, and is designed to allow mixing of fuel and air while making the lighter less sensitive to wind. The high energy jet in butane lighters allows mixing to be accomplished by using Bernoulli's principle
Bernoulli's principle
In fluid dynamics, Bernoulli's principle states that for an inviscid flow, an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid's potential energy...

, so that the air hole(s) in this type tend to be much smaller and farther from the flame.

Specialized "windproof" butane lighters are manufactured for demanding conditions such as shipboard, high altitude, and wet climates. Some dedicated models double as synthetic rope cutters. Such lighters are often far hotter than normal lighters (those that use a "soft flame") and can burn in excess of 1100 °C. Contrary to common misconception, the windproof capabilities are not achieved from "higher pressure" fuel. Windproof lighters use the same fuel (butane) as standard lighters, and therefore develop the same vapour pressure. The difference is that windproof lighters mix the fuel with air, and may also pass the butane/air mixture through a catalytic coil. An electric spark starts the initial flame, and soon after the coil is hot enough to sustain a catalytic reaction and cause the fuel/air mixture to burn on contact. In essence, the flame is constantly reignited by the coil.

Permanent match

A typical form of lighter is the everlasting match, consisting of a naphtha
Naphtha
Naphtha normally refers to a number of different flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons, i.e., a component of natural gas condensate or a distillation product from petroleum, coal tar or peat boiling in a certain range and containing certain hydrocarbons. It is a broad term covering among the...

 fuel-filled metal shell and a separate threaded metal rod assembly —the "match"— serving as the striker and wick. This "metal match" is stored screwed into the fuel storage compartment, the shell. (see photo)

The fuel-saturated striker/wick assembly is unscrewed to remove, and scratched against a flint on the side of the case to create a spark. Its concealed wick catches fire, resembling a match
Match
A match is a tool for starting a fire under controlled conditions. A typical modern match is made of a small wooden stick or stiff paper. One end is coated with a material that can be ignited by frictional heat generated by striking the match against a suitable surface...

. The flame is extinguished by screwing the "match" back into the shell, where it absorbs fuel for the next use. An advantage over other naphtha lighters is that the fuel compartment is sealed shut with a rubber o-ring
O-ring
An O-ring, also known as a packing, or a toric joint, is a mechanical gasket in the shape of a torus; it is a loop of elastomer with a disc-shaped cross-section, designed to be seated in a groove and compressed during assembly between two or more parts, creating a seal at the interface.The O-ring...

, which slows or stops fuel evaporation.

Flame-less lighter

A flame-less lighter is the safe alternative to traditional lighters. The flameless lighter uses an enclosed heating element, thus, the device does not emit an open flame. Typical flameless heating elements are an electrically heated wire or an artificial coal.

Flameless lighters are designed for use in any environment where an open flame must not exist or where conventional lighters or matches are not permitted.

Many advertised so-called flameless lighters are not flameless at all, but the flame is invisible. If a piece of paper can be easily ignited, it is probably not a true flameless lighter, and certainly not safe in explosive environments and so forth.

Automobile lighter

Some automobiles are equipped with an electric lighter housed in a 12 V
Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

 receptacle
Cigar lighter receptacle
The cigarette lighter receptacle in an automobile, initially designed to power an electrically heated lighter, became a de-facto standard DC connector to supply electrical power for portable accessories used in or near an automobile...

. Its electric heating element becomes hot in seconds upon activation. The car lighter was claimed to have been invented by Alexander Kucala, a tavern owner/ inventor, on the south side of Chicago in the early 1920's called the AL Lighter.

Safety

Two technical standards relate to the safety of lighters: the International Standard EN ISO
9994:2002 and the European standard EN 13869:2002.

The International Standard establishes non-functional specifications on quality, reliability and safety of lighters and appropriate test procedures. For instance, a lighter should generate flame only through positive action on the part of the user, two or more independent actions by the user, or an actuating force greater than or equal to 15 N. The standard also specifies other safety features, such as the lighter's maximum flame height and its resistance to elevated temperatures, dropping, and damages from continuous burning. However, the standard does not include child resistance specifications.

The European standard EN 13869:2002 establishes child-resistance specifications and defines as novelty lighters those that resemble another object commonly recognized as appealing to children younger than 51 months, or those that have entertaining audio or animated effects.

As matches, lighters, and other heat sources are the leading causes of fire deaths for children, many jurisdictions, such as the EU, have forbidden the marketing of novelty or non-child resistant lighters. Examples of child resistance features, include the use of a smooth or shielded spark
Ember
Embers are the glowing, hot coals made of greatly heated wood, coal, or other carbon-based material that remain after, or sometimes precede a fire. Embers can glow very hot, sometimes as hot as the fire which created them...

wheel.

In 2005 the fourth edition of the ISO standard was released (ISO9994:2005). The main change to the 2004 Standard is the inclusion of specifications on safety symbols.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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