Why is it that the burned match head is attracted by a magnet?
Why is it that the burned match head is attracted by a magnet?
I need a reddish-brown match _ (: match "∠) _

A match is not originally something that attracts magnets, but when the match head is burned, it is attracted away by a strong magnet.

(original video: Home Science)

Why are the burnt match heads attracted by magnets? If you only look at the core components of the match, you can't find out. No matter the oxidant potassium chlorate, sulfur, red phosphorus and other ingredients should not produce products that will be attracted by magnets. But there are other ingredients in the match head, such as the adhesive that holds everything together and the substance that colours the match head. The magnetic answer lies in this part. Many matchheads are made reddish brown, and iron oxide can be used to color them, and iron oxide is the reason for this phenomenon.

just last year, the European Journal of Physics published a paper devoted to this phenomenon. The researchers analyzed the composition of matchheads using proton X-ray fluorescence analysis and Mossbauer spectroscopy (don't ask me what these two are). The results show that these safety matchheads contain ferric oxide before combustion, while ferric oxide is produced after combustion, resulting in magnetic .

in order to verify this result, the researchers carried out simulation experiments. They mixed potassium chlorate, toner and sulfur with iron oxide and glued them to a matchstick (the original matchstick was cut off). This time, the burning "simulated matchhead" also recreates the phenomenon of being attracted by magnets. The author believes that the presence of organic matter is a necessary condition in the reaction from ferric oxide to ferric oxide.

there are also many matches that are not colored with iron oxide, so these matches will not produce the above phenomenon. When conducting an experimental demonstration, choosing a safety match containing iron oxide is the key to success. The color of the match head is a good hint: the match head containing iron oxide should be reddish brown. It should be noted that not all red-headed matches contain iron oxide, especially the bright red is likely to be dyed with other pigments. At the same time, the magnet needs to be strong enough.

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(tried the purplish red matches in my house, and sure enough, it didn't work at all. )

original paper: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6404/aa74a7