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I saw that in A Song of Ice and Fire the dragons have flames of varying colors depending on the color of their scales. Balerion has black flames with red swirls, Tessarion has cobalt blue flames, Rhaegal has normal flames with green veins, Sunfyre has golden flames, Viserion has normal flames with a pale gold… I know it's possible to make colored flames in real life, but this is done with lab-made chemicals, so: How ​​could a dragon produce colored flames? What would it need to have in the oil for the flames to come out with different colors than normal flames? I just can't explain what the use of colored fire would be, but visually it would be cool.

For anyone who wants to know how my dragon fire works:

My dragon is a carnivore. It has glands that turn the fat of the animals it eats into a flammable oil that is stored in a bladder in the chest and in some channels where it will travel along the dragon's neck so that the dragon is pre-prepared for a possible threat that could catch him off guard. The oil also has a mixture of methane and magnesium to make the fire more hotter. To ignite, the dragon expels a few droplets of oil into its mouth and releases an electrical arc of 1200 volts in each droplet to create an initial flame, then immediately releases a jet of oil to create the breath of fire. amounts of methane and magnesium to make the flame hotter. The explanation I would give for this dragon is that it is a mutant wyvern created in a laboratory because I think it is unlikely that an animal with such a complex and almost disadvantageous mechanism would emerge through processes evolutionary ones.

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    $\begingroup$ It looks like you answered your own question. As written you ask how could a dragon produce colored flame and you describe a mechanism with which colored flame can be produced. It's been centuries since it was proven that organic and inorganic chemistry are exactly the same thing. Perhaps you should be asking yourself how could your dragon have meaningful quantities of flame colorants in it's flammable oil. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't answer my own question because this engine would create flames of common colors, it wouldn't create flames gold, red, purple, black... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ It would if your magical dragon produced flame color chemicals mixed in with the oil, that it's producing via magic from animal fat. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ I think the usual term for a hollow organ that stores large amounts of fluid is "bladder." See the, um, bladder, the gallbladder, and the swim bladder. $\endgroup$
    – 8bittree
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ I've seen stranger things created by evolution. Obviously, on Earth it would probably burn itself, but not if it evolved on a very hot planet. I think it could be possible then. $\endgroup$
    – n00dles
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 17:33

3 Answers 3

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Chemicals are just chemicals

You mention that colored flames require 'lab-made' chemicals, but 'chemicals' are just compounds or substances that are relatively undifferentiated. The world is made of chemicals.

Plenty of naturally-occurring deposits of minerals produce unnaturally colored flames, and specifically, many of the minerals that can be found at a mineral lick happen to also produce colored flames.

Even unmodified animals go to great lengths to seek out mineral licks, e.g alpine ibexes:

enter image description here

Given that your dragon has been artificially engineered, making them inherently curious enough to seek out to supplement its diet with needed minerals would be an excellent adaptation, and even unmodified animals seek out mineral licks. Making your dragon an occasional geophage, as many animals are, would help.

Add to that a barbed tongue, like cats and some birds have:

enter image description here

And you get an animal that uses its tongue to scrape up mineral-rich dirt, or even abrade away the surface of stone. The pockets in its tongue accumulate deposits of minerals. When the dragon breathes flame, these minerals are heated to the point of combustion, and readily produce gouts of colored flame.

Bonus: depending on geographic location, dragons might have access to different sources of minerals, and thus, get differentially colored flames!

Some easy ones:

  • Salt produces yellow flames
  • Limestone and chalk produce red flames
  • Iron produce a golden flame
  • Copper produces a green flame
  • Potassium produces a purple flame

A particularly spectacular dragon may find magnesite deposit, and produce brilliant white flames, that may temporarily blind whoever is watching them.

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  • $\begingroup$ What would it take to create black, blue, pink flames? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ You can't have black flames, definitionally. Zinc will do blue, but you can also say the blue flame comes from the dragon creating complete combustion. Lithium creates pink flames (sometimes). $\endgroup$
    – Daniel B
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ Black-flames you could fudge with soot. In real-life if you burn acetylene, the flame is orange at the root (near the lips) but black the rest of the way along because of the soot. @DanielB $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ Granted, my experience comes from welding with acetylene, but the flame does not look black. It's a very distinct flame with soot all over, giving it more of a fire with black smoke look rather than a black flame. $\endgroup$
    – Austin
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ Natural gas (methane plus...) burns blue when it has complete combustion. Many animals produce methane quite naturally, just ignite... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 14:54
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Minerals.

There is, in fact, a thing called a flame test whereby elements are detect by the colors in the flame. The link gives some colors

What color your dragon would breathe depends on the circumstances of what trace elements it picks up. It's conceivable that this is an evolutionary mechanism to remove elements from the body.

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There are plenty of naturally-occuring substances that burn unusual colors, such as green or magenta. Plus, I've seen green flamethrowers (mainly on Battlebots, like this image), and we could probably make other colors. This same method is used to make colored fireworks.

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