Combustion or burning is an exothermic reaction between a substance (the fuel) and a gas (the oxidizer) to release heat. Combustion normally occurs in oxygen (often in the form of gaseous O2) to form oxides. However, combustion can also take place in other gases like chlorine.
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Rapid combustion is a form of combustion in which large amounts of heat and light energy are released. This is used in forms of machinery, such as internal combustion engines, and in fuel-air explosives and spud guns.
Slow combustion is a form of combustion which takes place at low temperatures. Respiration is slow combustion.
- CxHy + (x + y/4)O2 → xCO2 + (y/2)H2O
For example, the burning of propane is:
- C3H8 + 5O2 → 3CO2 + 4H2O