Boy, if these were chemicals the warnings on them would be a mile wide. Caution! Pyrophoric! May spontaneously ignite with friction! Wear appropriate protective gear when handling this substance! Never expose to heat or rough handling! Probably the second most dangerous element I have after cesium. These are strike-anywhere matches which contain a small amount of red phosphorus in the head. Strike-on-box matches contain phosphorus only in the striking surface, not in the match itself.
I remember years ago, I couldn't have been more than ten, making rockets out of matches and tin (aluminum) foil. You wrap the head of the match and about half way up the stick in several layers of foil, being sure to seal the part around the head well. Then you prop it head end down on some more foil and hold a lit match to the foil down where the head of the match is. After a few seconds the match inside the foil will light, and the gas generated will propel the match out of the foil barrel and several feet down the sidewalk.
I remember doing this mainly with cardboard matches such as you get in a matchbook, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with kitchen matches too. It works because the match head contains both a fuel and an oxidizer, so you don't need any air inside the foil for the match to burn.
Source: Grocery Store
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 12 June, 2002
Text Updated: 2 March, 2006