The Olympic torch is one of the most iconic symbols of the Games. Each Olympics is expected to produce a new torch that reflects local tradition and national character.
The London 2012 torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. It stands 800 mm high, weighing 800 grams. Its inner and outer aluminium alloy skin is perforated by 8,000 circles, representing the stories of 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the flame. This design is not only symbolic, but also helps ensure that the torch remains cool enough for the bearers to carry, as well as allowing spectators to see right through to the heart of the torch.
The torch has been specifically designed to be as lightweight as possible. This is important as half of the torchbearers are young people, some aged just 12.
The torch can withstand temperatures of up to 40 degrees C and down to -5 degrees C.
Basildon-based product engineers Tecosim carried out stringent testing to ensure the design could stay alight in wind, rain and snow; any weather that a British summer could produce.
The flame is kept alight by a propane-butane gas canister concealed at the centre of the torch. The average distance a torchbearer will carry the Olympic torch is 300 metres, so it is designed to burn for at least 10 minutes.
Three's the magic number
The triangular style of the torch was inspired by the multiples of three, found across the vision and delivery of the Olympic Games. These are:
-the three Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship
-the three words that make the Olympic motto - faster, higher, stronger
-the UK has hosted the Olympic Games three times - in 1908, 1948 and 2012
-the vision for the London 2012 Games is to combine three strands of work - sport, education and culture.
The London 2012 Olympic Torch won the Design of the Year award in April 2012.