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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
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Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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What are the possibilities that a person could be drenched

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What are the possibilities that a person could be drenched in gasoline from head to toe 3 times within 30 minutes and be lit with a lighter and not catch on fire?
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My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a physiologist with a myriad of chemistry in my formal education.

The possibility is highly when dealing with a fuel like gasoline and open flame.

Due to the volatility of gasoline naturally and the fact that it wants to evaporate into vapor which is easily ignited.

There are basically 2 things that come into play with this. The first thing is how robust is the flame compared to the liquid state of gas. Why? Because all fuels need what is called a stoichiometric ratio ideally met, which is basically the ratio of fuel to air and the closer it is the more readily it will ignite and burn faster, cleaner and ignite the molecules next to it thus creating a chain reaction.

This is why gasoline is always mixed with air and atomized before it can be ignited in automotive engines. If it is too rich(too much gas to air) or too lean(too much air to gas) it will not burn readily.

So in short, as long as the room itself that the doused person is in and as long as a stoich ratio is reached a person would more than likely unfortunately catch on fire. 3 times in 30 minutes, in an open area, assuming the gas didn't evaporate off(like on a very hot day, still a slim chance) and as long as the flame reached the person they would undoubtedly catch on fire.

This is also why factory explosions arent INSTANT, but fires can burn and give people time to evacuate - once that stoich ratio for the fuel is met, the reaction is much more violent.

Does this help you understand what is required?

SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So you are saying that if a person is drenched in gasoline and within a few minutes after being drenched he/she catches a flame they will more than likely catch fire. If they are drenched 3 times at about the same time and then catches a flame there is a possibility or probability that they may not catch fire.


Can I find this response in a book or some how legitimize it?

What i meant to relay was that as long as there is enough oxygen present the person or object would ignite.

We know of 2 very common real work examples of this. First is the automobile motor - when a vehicle is "flooded" and wont start that means there is wayyy too much fuel present and not enough oxygen to combust.

The other super common example is charcoal grills and gas grills. Too much fuel and accelerant(lighter fluid) without enough oxygen will actually prohibit the match or starter from lighting the gas. We see alot of times where people click and click and click get no flame, then shut gas off for a second, turn it back on then click and WOOF big fire puff. This is because the gas fuel mixture in the small spaced reached a reasonable level of oxygenation.