Olympic Trivia

I just want to share a unique Olympic trivia to commemorate the official opening of the Beijing Olympics today.

The Olympic flame has made its first ever journey underwater when it was carried underwater by marine biologist Wendy Craig-Duncan, last 27 June 2000 for the Sydney Olympics at Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef. Powered by a special chemical formula, the torch spent three minutes submerged.

The special flare was developed after nine months by a team of chemists and engineers at Melbourne pyrotechnics company Pains Wessex. The company’s managing director Charles Tegner said designing the torch was a challenge – not only to produce a flare to burn underwater at such a depth, but to burn like the Olympic torch flame as well. “It had to be clearly visible,” he said. “Such flares don’t normally exist.”

The flare’s chemical composition, pressed into a steel tube, produces sufficient oxygen and nitrogen to maintain a very hot flame. The flare burns so fiercely at more than 2,000 degrees Celsius that this creates enough pressure to keep the water from entering the tube. Its intensity is produced by a mix of oxygen-generating chemicals as well as the combustible element magnesium in a finely powdered form.

Reference BBC News Online

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