Is Blood Flammable? Will it Catch Fire?

Blood is a pretty fascinating substance. 

It is essential to our survival, providing oxygen and several nutrients to our cells as it circulates our bodies. It is the most important body fluid that we possess, and we simply cannot live without it. 

Will My Blood Catch Fire?

Unlike some other body parts and functions, it cannot be artificially manufactured: therefore, if we lose blood, we will need more blood to replace it.

Our bodies are able to reproduce this substance overtime, if only a small amount of blood has been lost, but we can also receive it from donors if we need it right away… which, if we’ve lost a certain amount, we will need it right away.

Human beings can go into shock after only losing less than a third of their blood volume. 

It is strange to think about, but an average adult body that weighs between 150 and 180 pounds will contain 1.2 gallons of blood inside them. That’s roughly the equivalent of around five large bottles of soda pop.

Isn’t it also strange to think that many of us faint at the sight of blood? This substance has been inside us our whole lives, continuously flowing through our veins, yet the mere sight of it can cause someone to freak out and lose consciousness.

It’s much less rare for a person to become uncomfortable at the sight of other bodily fluids, yet blood is enough to make many people turn pale, even as children. It’s weird to consider that something that has been inside our bodies since birth can make us so frightened. 

Like we said, blood really is fascinating… especially when you truly think about what it is, and what it is doing inside of you right now.

What Is Blood?

So, let’s take a moment to give ourselves a little bit of high school biology revision before we continue any further.

Blood is a liquid substance that flows around inside our bodies, swimming through our blood vessels. These vessels are also known as arteries, capillaries, venules, arterioles, and, of course, the one that we all remember the easiest, veins.

As I’m sure you know at this point in your life, you can actually see your blood when you look at your own veins, especially the prominent ones that you will find in your wrists and hands. 

It used to be believed by many that the reason our veins appear to be blue while blood, itself, is red, was because our blood is exposed to oxygen when it is released from our bodies, causing it to become red.

This, of course, isn’t true: blood carries oxygen throughout our bodies, so it has already been exposed. There is a reason that veins look blue, but you can do your own research on that one.

It’ll take way too long to explain, and after all, that’s not the question that we’re here to answer today.

So, blood is made up of four basic components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. The first three components mentioned are all different types of cells that each have their own individual jobs to ensure our blood is healthy:

  • Red blood cells are needed to replace old cells that have broken down. They also contain haemoglobin, a chemical that binds to oxygen and then transfers it from the lungs into other parts of the body to be converted into energy. It is the red blood cells that give blood its red-colored appearance.
  • White blood cells are used to fight off infections and bacteria, as well as attacking viruses and other types of germs. Without white blood cells, your immune system will be unable to function properly, if at all. 
  • Platelets are small cell fragments that help our blood thicken and clot if we cut ourselves, allowing the wound to heal over time.

The three cell types originate from bone marrow - the spongy substance found inside our bones - starting off as the same substance, and they then develop into whichever cell is needed within the bloodstream. 

The fourth component, plasma, is the main component, making up a massive 60% of our blood’s volume. This is also the part that makes blood a liquid consistency. Plasma is made up mainly of water, and also includes glucose, enzymes, antibodies, hormones, and many other elements. 

So, overall, blood has many functions within our bodies. It helps oxygen travel from the lungs to other parts of our bodies, while performing the opposite effect with carbon dioxide, causing it to travel out of our body rather than keeping it in and storing it.

It also helps to fight off infections and germs, and if our blood does not produce a certain amount of cells, we can become very ill. 

What Makes A Material Flammable?

From the moment we are born, all the way throughout our lives, we have a natural instinct inside us that tells us we should be afraid of fire. 

While this element can be used for good, e.g. heating food and creating warmth, we generally only like to use fire if we know it can be controlled in a safe environment, unable to cause harm to ourselves or others.

Sometimes, these variables can be out of our control: wildfires can start in open, natural areas during particularly hot waves of weather, and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

The reason that fire is so scary is that not only is it unpredictable, but it can spread so quickly, and can be extremely difficult to extinguish if it has travelled so far.

However, not every material in the world is flammable. If you tried to light up a piece of green grass with a lighter, you’ll find that the object won’t catch fire. This may seem strange, but there are several reasons that some materials are flammable, and some aren’t.

Without getting into too much confusing, scientific detail, in order for an object to be flammable, they must react a certain way with oxygen. A flame needs oxygen to burn, which is why a candle flame will die out if you place something over the top of the candle, locking the air inside.

If you want to learn more about this process, we suggest you do your own research: there is a lot of information needed to understand the overall procedure, and it’s pretty much irrelevant to this article.

In the case of many average household objects, they will need to be completely dry in order to catch fire: if you throw a piece of wet wood onto a fire, the odds are that it won’t burn for a long period of time, at least until the material has completely dried out.

We don’t need to get into the scientific explanations in this article, but just trust us: you can’t burn water. Water, instead, will extinguish fire. 

The only way water can be ‘defeated’ by fire is through evaporation, which is why a wet object will eventually burn over time, but only once the fire has evaporated the entirety of the water absorbed within it.

Can Blood Catch On Fire?

The short answer is ‘no’.

Of course, blood is not flammable. This is due to 60% of the liquid substance being made up of plasma, of which a huge portion is made up of water (around 92%). As we know from the previous paragraph, water doesn’t burn: it would, instead, put the fire out.

This means that, technically, you could use your own blood to extinguish a fire, if you needed to… although, you would need to withdraw a lot of blood to put out a fire, and you would almost definitely kill yourself during the process.

If you just so happened to have a couple of gallons of blood stored in your home, the problem would be solved!

Owning this amount of blood may raise some questions, however, and we can only assume that it will cause some other problems in your life... but, hey, we’re not here to ask questions. We’re here to answer them.

So, overall, the answer to the question asked is: no, blood cannot, and will not, catch on fire. 

If you don’t believe us, you can test this theory out yourself by drawing a small droplet of blood and lighting it with a match, but all that will happen is the blood will evaporate from the heat.

However, in theory, if you were to evaporate all of the plasma from the blood, and you were left with only the remaining blood cells, the blood would probably become flammable.