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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
This video package illustrates the hazard of dust explosions--specifically, how a material that is not generally flammable suddenly becomes combustible when its surface area is increased. The featured chemical is lycopodium powder, which is not especially flammable in normal circumstances. But disperse it into the air, bring a flame close by and.....KABOOM. (Video may be viewed in slow motion.)

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Editor's Note: When a substance rapidly reacts with oxygen, energy is released in the form of heat and/or light. This type of exothermic reaction is known as combustion. This resource will be especially useful in helping students see that many factors can affect combustion: temperature, the concentration of the reactants, and surface area of the fuel.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
Thermo & Stat Mech
- First Law
= Heat Transfer
- Thermal Properties of Matter
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Demonstration
= Instructor Guide/Manual
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2008 WGBH
chemical reaction, combustibility, combustion, combustion reaction, explosion video, fire, flammability, heat transfer, thermal expansion
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 27, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 22, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 29, 2008

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M6b. An important kind of reaction between substances involves the combination of oxygen with something else—as in burning or rusting.
  • 6-8: 4D/M11. Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances with different characteristic properties.
  • 9-12: 4D/H7b. An enormous variety of biological, chemical, and physical phenomena can be explained by changes in the arrangement and motion of atoms and molecules.
  • 9-12: 4D/H9a. The rate of reactions among atoms and molecules depends on how often they encounter one another, which is affected by the concentration, pressure, and temperature of the reacting materials.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 9-12: 4E/H4. Chemical energy is associated with the configuration of atoms in molecules that make up a substance. Some changes of configuration require a net input of energy whereas others cause a net release.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2008), WWW Document, (http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/).
PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion, (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2008), <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/>.
APA Format
PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion. (2008, December 29). Retrieved September 24, 2017, from WGBH Educational Foundation: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/
Chicago Format
National Science Foundation. PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, December 29, 2008. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/ (accessed 24 September 2017).
MLA Format
PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2008. 29 Dec. 2008. National Science Foundation. 24 Sep. 2017 <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {24 September 2017}, Month = {December 29, 2008}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion
%D December 29, 2008
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%C Boston
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D December 29, 2008
%T PBS LearningMedia: Dust Explosion
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%V 2017
%N 24 September 2017
%8 December 29, 2008
%9 application/flash
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.expldust/dust-explosion/

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

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