The temperature at which paper will spontaneously burn without being exposed to a flame is around 480 degrees Fahrenheit, but this varies depending on the type of paper and its physical qualities. Paper burns significantly hotter once lighted. A paper fire’s core temperature can reach 1,500 degrees or higher.
While the title of Ray Bradbury’s science fiction classic “Fahrenheit 451” came from what Bradbury thought was the auto-ignition point of book paper, current experiments show that the true combustion point is higher. The temperature at which paper burns is determined by its volume, composition, density, and shape, as well as the length of time it is exposed to extreme heat. A sheet of paper would catch fire and burn far faster than a hefty book in an oven set to 480 degrees.
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