Want to see something incredible? Here’s a video of a man named Liu Fei, a Mianyang kung fu master, putting saw dust into his mouth, and breathing fire out to incinerate it at the camera. Yes, you heard that right. No, there aren’t any effects added. This is a fire breathing man!
So how did he learn to do this? A near century of kung fu studies?
Not quite. It turns out, that saw dust he’s placing in his mouth is lined with one special ingredient: white phosphorus.
The chemical ignites when it comes in contact with oxygen (more often than not, it self combusts). Imagine what would happen if someone blew all that oxygen straight at it? Yeah, that’s right: fire. Not so magical after all.
Oh, there is one thing that Liu Fei probably put a lot of time into perfecting: breathing. That phosphorus contains a poison gas that will absolutely kill you (yes you) if you inhale it. Liu Fei has to breath through only his nostrils until he can puff out a hole in his mouth, and even then he makes sure to only exhale the sawdust. Then he just has to worry about the fire in his mouth.
Thanks to Outrageous Acts of Science for this great video. Watch more awesome science videos on their website.