There are three types of matches; there is the safety match, strike anywhere match, and the friction match, they each can produce fires in different ways. The safest and most common way to produce a fire with a match is to take a match and strike on the side of the match box. On the side of the match box there is a surface on which you can strike the match and produce a fire. The surface is made out of red phosphorus, that way the only way the match heads could produce a fire would be to strike their heads on the red phosphorus. The match heads are made out of a mixture with phosphorus sesquisulfide,potassium chlorate, and powdered glass. That mixture helps the match light and produces a flame.

How is a match made?
Matches are made a certain way, they aren't just tiny pieces of wood there’s more to it. First logs get their bark cut off and then get cut into thin pieces of wood called veneer. After that the veneer cuts cut up into tiny pieces of wood, which is then become the wood part of the match. Then the match sticks soak in a big container of ammonium phosphate, which is a chemical that makes the matches burn slowly when they are lit. After they are soaked they are but in a drier to dry. Then the matches are put onto a conveyor belt with small holes to put the match sticks so they don’t fall out. The conveyor belt then passes different containers that will coat the tip of the match. The first container contains paraffin wax, which the fuel that allows the flame to be on the match stick. The second container contains the base chemicals such as sulfur, rosin, and small amount to keep the match burning a little bit longer. The last container contains the liquid that is used for the striking match, which is a mixture of phosphorus sesquisulfide, potassium chlorate, and even powdered glass to help light the match. Finally they matches are dried and get ready to be packaged. Figure 1: The picture below is a picture of a match and its different parts.

CGS  Match drawing.jpg

How does the match produce the fire?
You need three things to start a fire heat, oxygen, and fuel. When you strike the match on the match box you get heat from the friction between the match and match box. The oxygen is in the air that we breathe. Those are two elements that create a fire when you strike the match. Finally the last element is fuel which is the small striking tip on the match head, which is made out of phosphorus sesquisulfide. Between the striking surface which is the fuel, the air which the oxygen, and motion of striking the match on the match box which is the heat the match produces the fire. For example if you were in a place that didn't have any oxygen your match wouldn't create a fire. Or is the matches didn't have their small striking surface matches wouldn't work at all! Every small thing that goes into making a match is very important. Figure 2: On the page below is a picture of a match striking against the match box and producing a fire.
CGS striking match.jpg

Paraffin wax – A white, odorless wax like soiled.
Phosphorus- sesquisulfide- a yellow, crystalline, flammable substance.
Potassium Chlorate - a white crystalline soluble substance used in fireworks, matches, and explosives
Red phosphorus – A modification of phosphorus that is dark red.

Levy, Joel. Really Useful: The origins of everyday things. Ontario. Firefly Books, 2002. Print.

"Matches." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2012. Web. 14. Sept. 2012.

Kozlowski, Michael. How does strike anywhere matches work? Demand Media Inc. 2012. Web. 14. Sept. 2012.

Slavin, Bill and Jim, Slavin. Transformed: how everyday things are made. Toronto. Kids Can Press, 2007. Print.