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What Type of Fuel Does the Olympic Torch Use?

The eternal flame is one of the most recognisable symbols of the Olympics and its entry into the host country, 70 days before the games begin, is a huge event. The eternal flame represents the light of spirit, knowledge and life as well as purity and the struggle for perfection. So how does it remain constantly lit and what type of fuel does the Olympic torch use? This article will explore the answers to this question in more detail.

Legend has it that Adolf Hitler was responsible for the introduction of the torch relay for the controversial 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The torch is lit in Greece, the spiritual home of the Olympics, using rays from the sun, and transported to the country of the games. Each game has a torch designed specifically and not each torch has the same lighting and fuelling mechanism.

A number of different fuels have been used to keep the flame burning, including olive oil. Liquefied gasses became the fuel of choice from the 1972 Munich Games, with propylene or a mix of butane and propane being the most common. From a visual perspective, these liquid gasses are bright and luminous that produce clean, smokeless flames. They?re also light and easily controlled as well as stored.

The 2012 Olympic torch, designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby is made of aluminium alloy skin contains 8,000 holes, representing the number of bearers to carry it during its journey around Great Britain. Each torch contains enough fuel for it to remain lit for about 10 minutes, enough for the 300-metre journey. The type of fuel used in the 2012 Olympic torch is actually a bespoke fuel, which is similar to the gas solution used at previous games? A combination of butane and propane.

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