Hot iron

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The last thing you’d expect to burn is metal. But, according to scientists, most metals readily oxidize in suitable conditions. Scientifically, burning is a drastically accelerated form of oxidation.

Some metals burn easily when they are in powdered form. The colors in fireworks come from powdered metal added to the explosive mixture. Some photographers set fire to a ball of common steel wool and spin it at the end of a string for stunning long-exposure photos.

This scientific fact was proven in an incident in Davao City on Saturday when a warehouse full of scrap metal burst into flames.

According to Fire Insp. Willy Melodi, chief of the Panacan Fire Station, the blaze started in the center of the warehouse where a crushing machine processing scrap metal might have overheated.

The firemen found it difficult to control the raging fire. They suspected that some of the tin cans contained flammable materials, such as paint or butane. Likewise, the plastic sacks containing scrap metal were combustible and served as fuel to the raging fire.

Despite scientific proof that metal burns, some ordinary folks still feel such reality is counter to ordinary experience. One even commented that to see a warehouse full of burning metal is “ironic.”

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