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Author Topic: Why do we think of red as the hottest colour when the hottest part of a flame is  (Read 1451 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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...actually dark blue?

At least, that's what I learned from my physics master over a Bunsen burner flame half a century ago.

The hottest part of the flame is the tip of the inner dark blue bit of the flame, innit? Not the upper point of the flame itself. And even that is a light blue flame...not red.

On top of that, the hottest stars are blue.

So why do we regard red as the hottest colour when it clearly ain't?
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Offline Cosmos

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I suspect that the expression red-hot has something to do with watching a blacksmith fashioning iron. The best temperature for that (fashioning) is when the metal is red. Although iron is still workable at yellow-hot it is more likely to set badly. I would point out that white-hot is another expression which I believe is hotter than red-hot. This too is derived from metal-working for when iron reaches the white-hot stage it is close to melting.
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Offline P-Kasso2

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I suspect that the expression red-hot has something to do with watching a blacksmith fashioning iron. The best temperature for that (fashioning) is when the metal is red. Although iron is still workable at yellow-hot it is more likely to set badly. I would point out that white-hot is another expression which I believe is hotter than red-hot. This too is derived from metal-working for when iron reaches the white-hot stage it is close to melting.

Can't argue with that, Cosmos. Blue I always associate with cold (blue lips etc). But I hadn't made  the 'red hot metal' connexion and think you are dead right.
"I live in hope"