The Mysteries of Firewalking Revealed
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Cargioli, Theresa; Gaites, Craig; Van Fleet, Geoff; Liem, Andre; Lyubchenko, Lev
The act of firewalking was once thought of as a supernatural experience, shrouded in mystery and revered as a feat of courage and determination. Through the use of computer aided engineering and basic thermodynamics, firewalking can now be explained scientifically. We created a mesh in GAMBIT that included a representation of a human foot, a steam layer and the hot coals. The steam layer was created by the Leidenfrost effect, which we were testing the validity of. We determined, using FIDAP, that the combined effect of the steam layer?s poor conduction and the favorable thermal properties of both the foot and coal make it is possible for anyone to walk along a hot coal bed. After taking away the steam layer, we discovered that the steam layer played a vital role in protecting the foot. If it is not present, the foot will be burnt, as the temperature of the foot at the location of the nerve ending will surpass the pain threshold temperature of 318 Kelvin.
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