About 11 months ago, I posted a question on this SE site on cool flames.

One of the answers mentioned white phosphorus. However, a few weeks earlier, I played a game called Spec Ops: The Lines, in which the protagonist uses white phosphorus laden mortar munition, horribly burning dozens of soldiers and civilians. I was confused that the answer mentioned WP because of that moment from the game, and further googled it to find that WP munitions are actually heavily regulated, and using them against civilians is considered a warcrime. To me, that doesn't really seem compatible with "cool burning" at a temperature you can hold your hand in.

It's not my intent to cause this answer to be downvoted, but I'm confused whether the answer is factually accurate. According to Google, it burns at 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but that's the munitions.

  • $\begingroup$ In answer you linked there was probably misunderstanding with ignition temp. and flame temp. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Also perhaps a difference between burning small amounts of phosphorus vapor and burning the actual stuff. Solid chunks of white phosphorus are truly nasty weapons for the reasons mentioned. It's allowed for use as a smoke producer, but the Israeli army in particular continues to use it as an incendiary weapon. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 0:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Burning white phosphorus sticks to skin and causes horrible burns. It's also quite toxic. Highly recommended to stay away... $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:11


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