Magnetic safety matches

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Linden J, Lindberg M, Greggas A, Jylhavuori N, Norrgrann H, Lill JO
Publication year: 2017
Journal: European Journal of Physics
Journal acronym: EUR J PHYS
Volume number: 38
Issue number: 4
Number of pages: 6
ISSN: 0143-0807


In addition to the main ingredients; sulfur, potassium chlorate and carbon, ordinary safety matches contain various dyes, glues etc, giving the head of the match an even texture and appealing color. Among the common reddish-brown matches there are several types, which after ignition can be attracted by a strong magnet. Before ignition the match head is generally not attracted by the magnet. An elemental analysis based on proton-induced x-ray emission was performed to single out iron as the element responsible for the observed magnetism. Fe-57 Mossbauer spectroscopy was used for identifying the various types of iron-compounds, present before and after ignition, responsible for the macroscopic magnetism: Fe2O3 before and Fe3O4 after. The reaction was verified by mixing the main chemicals in the match-head with Fe2O3 in glue and mounting the mixture on a match stick. The ash residue after igniting the mixture was magnetic.


magnetism, matches, Mossbauer spectroscopy, PIXE, proton-induced x-ray emission

Last updated on 2020-21-01 at 02:59