Sitting around a campfire, you can feel its heat, smell the woody smoke, and hear it crackle. If you get too close, it burns your eyes and stings your nostrils. You could stare at the bright flames forever as they twist and flicker in endless incarnations… But what exactly are you looking at?

What is fire? Is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas? Or is it a plasma? (It’s not.) Learn more about fire and the chemical reaction of combustion in this TED-Ed animated lesson by Elizabeth Cox, directed by Héloïse Dorsan Rachet.

Then learn more about fire with It’s Okay to Be Smart, visit The Fire Lab, and watch Spectroscopy of Stars. Bonus DIY science: Candle Chemistry.

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