Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Schlieren Flame

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see the creation of this awesome video of the Schlieren effect, an optical technique that highlights bent light. Here it shows heat convection coming off a candle flame, and later a blast of CO2 to extinguish it. Filmed at the Edgerton Center Strobe Lab using a 300fps high-speed consumer camera (Casio EX-F1). Look for a potential follow-up from one of this year's 2.009 teams that might use this to image their project, a microwave fire detector/suppressor.

Comments (2)

To whom it may concern,
Hi I’m eleven years of age I’ve heard good thing about MIT School. One night I showed my dad my progress report in science and my average in science was a 94 percent and he said " good job kido maybe if you get your grades up in math, spanish, social studies,and ELA maybe you can go to MIT for college" and I said “what MIT” and he said " it is where most of the worlds greatest scientists went to go to college" and ever since dinner I’ve been on the computer looking at your website. I’ve come across the best kind of flame I’ve ever seen discovered by your college, it is called Schlieren Flame and I was wondering where and how did you guys produce such a great flame like the Schlieren Flame. If you could get back to me my E- mail address is

Posted 8 years by Anonymous

What your seeing is the displacement of air caused by the flame. The flame itself is just a normal candle or lighter flame. However with the Schlieren visualization system, you can capture the light that reflects off of the moving hot air molecules.

Posted 8 years by Anonymous

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Category: Engineering | Updated over 6 years ago

December 01, 2008 20:47
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