The chemistry of matches (in super slow motion) FEB 24 2016
With amazing super slow-motion footage of a match head starting to burn as a backdrop, this video explains the chemical reactions involved in lighting a match.
When the match is struck, a small amount of the red phosphorus on the striking surface is converted into white phosphorus, which then ignites. The heat from this ignites the potassium chlorate, and the match head bursts into flame. During manufacture, the match stick itself is soaked in ammonium phosphate, which prevents 'afterglow' once the flame has gone out, and paraffin, which ensures that it burns easily.