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1. Spontaneously igniting in air.
2. Producing sparks by friction.

[From pyrophorus, substance that ignites spontaneously : from Greek purophoros, fire-bearing : puro-, pyro- + -phoros, -phorous.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˌpaɪrəʊˈfɒrɪk) or


1. (Chemistry) (of a chemical) igniting spontaneously on contact with air
2. (General Physics) (of an alloy) producing sparks when struck or scraped: lighter flints are made of pyrophoric alloy.
[C19: from New Latin pyrophorus, from Greek purophoros fire-bearing, from pur fire + pherein to bear]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌpaɪ rəˈfɔr ɪk, -ˈfɒr-)

capable of igniting spontaneously in air.
[1830–40; < Greek pyrophór(os) fire-bearing]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Among several alternative hydrogen storage materials, an intermetallic compound of ZrCo is proposed as one of the most suitable candidates for tritium storage according to (1), since it possesses such excellent properties as low equilibrium hydrogen pressure and fast hydrogen absorption rate at room temperature, moderate temperature for hydrogen desorption to 100 kPa, and desirable features of safety like non-radioactivation, low pyrophoricity, and small volume expansion during hydrogen sorption cycles [9-14].
This is inferred from the absence of experimental fluid pyrophoricity, because a laboratory technique was not found that could directly measure TMA.
Malpass, "Appendix A: Pyrophoricity of metal alkyls," in Handbook of Transition Metal Polymerization Catalysts, R.
Passivation is a standard procedure for the metal nanoparticles produced by EEW in order to reduce their pyrophoricity. When increasing the energy input into the wire and decreasing the average particle size, chain-like structures of the small particles form around the bigger ones.
These odors come about because of a phenomenon properly called pyrophoricity. That is, certain solids in the presence of oxygen are capable of spontaneously bursting into flames--autoigniting.