The Olympic Flame

Olympic Flame

On 10 May, 2012 the Olympic flame will be started in the temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece by concentrating the sun’s rays with a lens and creating enough heat to start a fire. In Greek mythology, fire was given to humans by the gods. The sun is regarded as a god, so even today the Olympic flame is given to humans by the gods. (Source:

Watch this youtube video on the Olympic torch flame during Greek ceremony 2012. A surprise happened.

Olympic Torch

This year, the Olympic torch takes a triangular structure that represents the power of 3: 2012 marks the third time the games have come to London and the three Olympic values – faster, stronger, higher.

The London Olympic Torch 2012

Do you know how much chemistry goes into the design of the Olympic torch? What material should be used to make the torch strong and light? Where should the fuel canister, valve and burner be housed? What kind of structure allows heat to escape without hurting the torch bearers? On top of all that, it must look stylish and cool!

Olympic Cauldron

To many of us, one of the most exciting parts of the Olympic Opening Ceremony is the lighting of the Olympic torch at the cauldron. I love the design of the Olympic cauldron in the inaugural Singapore Youth Olympic Games 2010. It’s stylish and most importantly, GREENer to the environment! Just imagine how much fuel is saved on using this lighthouse design, not forgetting the heat that is generated! Think in terms of rising temperature, greenhouse gases and all! Thanks to Dr Her-Mann Tsai for his ingenuity in creating a GREENer way of passing the Olympic values!

Watch the Singapore Olympic and flame Cauldron at work!

Quoted from the Singapore 2010 website, the Vortex flame was invented by Singaporean design engineer, Dr Her-Mann Tsai of the Science Centre Singapore, the vortex flame is fire contained within a tube with an opening at the top end. A special technique creates an elongated and intense fire known as a “fire tornado” because of a spiraling effect within the flame.

There you go! That’s just one way chemistry plays a role in sports!


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