Why would a Ping Pong ball burn? And does the ball get toxic after burning? A lot many questions, for which you will find the answers here.
Recalling that day, just a month back I was cleaning all my household stuff on a Sunday morning. Suddenly, I got some burning smell around and frankly speaking, I panicked a bit. Don’t ever do that! The more you panic, less chances of problem solving. There I found my Ping Pong ball all burning up, and I was left in total confusion. I put flame off instantly with water, and was left in wonder how did that happen?
Do the balls burn on their own or are they flammable in nature? What is the scientific reason behind this burning? Keep reading this space to know more about the burning ping pong balls.
Are burning Ping Pong Balls toxic?
Comparing the old ping pong balls with the new ones, the older ones were more flammable in nature. The old balls could ignite and explode at any moment, whereas the modern balls are more effective. They too will burn and give out the considerable amount of flame, but this will only happen if you try to ignite the balls purposely using anything like a lighter.
So, why does this happen?
Many of you might think that this burning is because of the air filled inside the ball. But infact the burning occurs due to the material used in the making of the ball. The nitrocellulose or the celluloid component used in the making of the balls are the ones responsible for the burning nature. So, now it will be clear that the burning is not because of any flammable air component inside the ball.
But it is because of the component used in the making of the Ping Pong ball. They are mainly composed of the celluloid, which is also called as the cotton-gun. This makes the ball burn quick, and the flame spreads pretty quick than you can imagine.
Another reason is that the old tennis balls were made of acidified celluloid. This compound gets unstable over time, and even a slightest spark or ignition could create a huge fire in the result.
What is a Ping Pong Ball actually made of?
The first kind of the ping pong ball was made using rubber and clothing was used for the covering purpose. Whereas the other balls made of cork were wrapped with the webbing. The rubber balls were found to be too bouncy, whereas the latter one was opposed to the rubber balls. The cork balls are low on the bounce, so in short, the users were tired using both the types because of their respective issues.
To solve this, celluloid was introduced and it replaced the old tennis ball materials. It was first released for purchase during the year 1990, and this ball gave a quality bounce to the player during the ping pong game.
Cellulose is a combined composition of nitrocellulose and camphor. This is the same material which is used in the making of the plastic material for the photography purpose. Thereafter, the same cellulose was used for the making for a long time. But later after incidents of burning ping pong balls, and the potential dangers of using cellulose in the indoors- the production and usage of cellulose came to a halt.
Soon ITTF came to a decision of using poly-plastic for the making of the tennis ball and completely avoiding the celluloid from the making. The new plastic balls are found to be stronger and the bouncing quality is improved than the celluloid balls. Other than that, everything about the ball remains the same.
Still, you will find celluloid balls in the shop, and they can be used for all local tournaments and other home tournaments.
On Igniting a Ping Pong in real! [CAUTION ALERT]
You will need three things to try out the Igniting of a Ping Pong ball. They are – the ping pong ball, a lighter for igniting the ball, and a fire-safe surface.
There are some crazy people who try out igniting the ball keeping them on their palms. As soon as you lit the top portion of the ball, the flame will spread quickly and it will end up burning your hands. So make sure that you place the ball on a fire-resistant surface. You can make use of a brick-made bowl, and place the ball inside. While you can also, make a hole on the ball and ignite the fire inside the hollow portion. With this, you could see the ball disintegrating as well.
If you are using a lighter for the ignition, then use the long-handled one for this job. Also don’t lean forward to see the flame, this is because the flame travels in the upward direction quickly as soon as you ignite the Ping Pong ball. So, there is no point in checking if the flame has gone out after the ball is ignited once! Yes, people actually do such acts.
Study all the Do’s and Don’ts before trying out such tests at your home. Try igniting the Ping-Pong ball in the outdoors, if you don’t want to burn up your household products.
So, burning Ping Pong balls made of cellulose will be toxic if they are inhaled by a great extent. Why would anyone do that! Otherwise, there are no potential dangers in inhaling the burning Ping Pong ball. They are toxic to some extent, but not deadly as you imagine. No need to do the testing also!
Make sure that you replace all your old cellulose made balls with the new plastic ones. This can reduce the chance of burning and other flammable condition. Stay safe, and happy playing!
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