Photographer: Charlotte Kanzler
This is an example of the use of lycopodium powder, which when dispersed into the air over a Bunsen burner will produce a magnificent flash of fire. Despite lycopodium’s obvious flammability, it is slow to catch flame when sitting in a pile. The disparity is created because blowing the powder through the air dramatically increases the surface area of the dust exposed to flame, dramatically increasing the rate of the combustion reaction and giving off tons of energy at once. I took this photo because of the clear way it displays the way substances can be modified to produce energy; fire is a vivid medium that has always seized the imagination of men and has led to the development and prospering of the human race. In addition, it’s always been a challenge for me to capture through a photograph, so I welcomed the opportunity to experiment with it in a controlled environment (with the help and guidance of my Chemistry teacher, of course!).