The science behind the viral videos of mounting tires with a controlled explosion


Videos of people lighting their tires on fire using matches and lighter fluid have quickly gone viral. Incredibly enough, this spectacle isn’t just for show. It can prove practical in an emergency when your tires have become flat and no longer form a seal with your wheels. This video delves into the science behind setting tire beads that have become unseated, and mounting a tire on a wheel using a controlled explosion. Following is a transcript of this video.

These videos of people setting their tires on fire have quickly gone viral. Just what are we seeing here.

Your wheel is sitting on the floor with a loose tire draped around it. The tire sits against the wheel creating a sort of chamber. Using a nozzle or aerosol can, you spray the tire chamber with lighter fluid. Next, you strike a match or prepare another ignition source. You brace yourself and set the lighter fluid on fire. The burning gas suddenly and violently expands. This is also known as an explosion. The escaping gas pushes the sidewalls of the tire up and out. If the proper amount of lighter fluid is used, the tire will expand so far the tire bead moves along the wheel and catches the groove.

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