How Are Matches Made? What Wood Are Matches Made From?

Matches are probably the cheapest and most convenient thing that you can use to ignite a fire. You can easily create fire with matches, especially when you want to make big fire from chunks of wood logs. Not to mention that they are super compact and portable. Undoubtedly, matches are the invention that hugely impacts our daily civilized life.

Like other big important inventions along the course of human race development, there had been different materials, chemical ingredients as well as designs which are used to make into a match. However, the best and greatest option was finally developed in around the 1800s by a Swedish chemist.

If you want to know more about this wonderful invention and are currently seeking for answers such as “what wood are matches made from?” or “how are matches made”, take a look at this article here for the ultimate answers to your questions.


What Wood Are Matches Made Of? – The Raw Materials

The most common types of wood which is used to make into matches are the aspen or white pine. These types of wood can be made into straight pieces easily thanks to their straight grained pattern.

The types of wood which are used to make the matchsticks need to be sufficiently porous in order for various types of materials including Paraffin wax, rosin and sulfur to penetrate into the body of the matchsticks.

Last but not least, these types of wood, when they are cut and divided into small pieces, need to be strong and sturdy enough to avoid them from being bent, especially when the matches are struck.

Besides straight grained wood, there are several materials and chemicals which are used to make into a match. The red phosphorus was replaced by the white phosphorus to make it safer. There is a dedicated striking surface in which the red phosphorus is located on so that the match will be less likely to cause self inflammation.

Other materials and chemicals are the Paraffin wax, potassium chlorate, zinc oxide and sulfur, to name just a few.

The Process Of Making Matches

Here are the steps which are industrially used in order to make bathes and batches of matches. It is worth noting that there are 2 most common types of matches. The first one is striking anywhere match while the second newer one is the safety match. The most considerable difference between two types of matches is the phosphorus material. The striking anywhere match uses white phosphorus, which is easier but also more dangerous to use. The second one uses red phosphorus, which is safer, on the other hand.

In this article, we will discuss the process of making safety matches only.

Step 1: Prepare the sticks

The pieces of wood, which are typically aspen wood or white pine wood, are cut into smaller pieces. First of all, the big logs of aspen or pine wood will be clamped into a debarking machine at which the outer layers of these logs will be stripped out.

Then they will be moved into a peeler for them to be cut into smaller and thinner layers. Then a chopper will cut these layers into shorter pieces of matchsticks. Each time a chopper chops down; it can cut these layers into about 1000 pieces of matchsticks.

Step 2: Prepare the match heads

The materials which are used to make match heads are antimony trisulfide, along with potassium chlorate, sulfur and inert fillers. The animal glue is added to the mixture of chemicals to help stick all of the ingredients together. The antimony trisulfide can’t ignite a fire, unless it is strike on a special striking surface.

The head of the match is then colored with zinc oxide, giving it a unique color.

Step 3: Prepare the match boxes

A match box is typically made from cardboard. On the sides of the cardboard, there are striking surface at which you strike a match to ignite a fire. The striking surface is made with red phosphorus, powered glass and other inert materials such as gum Arabic or urea formaldehyde. These materials help the striking surface to be able to cause better friction and ignite fire quicker.

Step 4: Make matches

After the matchsticks are made, they are moved in a conveyor belt. This belt will move the matchsticks through various steps into different tanks of chemicals.

These pieces of wood are then processed and soaked with ammonium phosphate. This material is fire retardant, which helps to avoid the stick to become smolder after the match burns out. They are left to dry completely before being moved to other tanks of chemicals.

After that, a small amount of Paraffin wax is then applied to one end of a stick, along with a small amount of fuel. This step will ensure that the match can burn much more quickly and easily.

Finally, the match head is coated onto one end or two ends of matchsticks. Then the conveyor belt will move up and down for several times for these matchsticks and match head to dry completely. This process takes about 50 to 60 minutes.

Step 5: Pack the matches

Finally, matches are filled into each small box.

Fun fact: Do you know that in the modern match making industry, a continuous operation can produce of up to 10 millions of matches for 8 hours with a small number of people watching over the operation?

Here are some few things that you need to know about matches and how matches are made. I hope that this article could be able to provide answers for some of your most basic questions such as what types of wood are used to make matches and what the steps of producing a match are. Although matches are not as commonly used today as they used to in the past, no one can deny the fact that it is definitely a wonderful invention that plays a significant part in our life and development.

I hope this article is a fun read for you!!

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