When you think of fire art, you likely think of art on the desert playa or the Flaming Lotus Girls at Maker Faire. Here’s some fire art worthy of a gallery setting (think of that call to the insurance company). These pieces were presented as part of the 2011 Combustion Art Competition Awards, held at a recent meeting of the Combustion Institute. Photos and text from NewScientist:

Image: Nelson Akafuah and Kozo Saito

Super Fire Whirl
Earning Nelson Akafuah and Kozo Saito of the University of Kentucky in Lexington joint third place, this fire whirl was created by igniting benzene, a simple petrochemical, then mirroring and rotating the resultant image to produce a distinctive “S” shape.

Image: Sandra Olson

Flaming Star
Combining three separate images, all taken as part of her research into spacecraft fire safety, aerospace engineer Sandra Olson of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, won with her star-shaped rendition of flames burning in microgravity. The blue areas are produced when visible light is released from the chemical reaction in a process known as chemiluminescence. The white, yellow and orange colors occur as soot burns in the flame.

See a few other pieces at NewScientist.