Out of the many types of chemical reactions, what this article would be discussing today would be what is known as combustion reaction. The name itself would have given you some idea on what this type of chemical reaction is all about. It is about combustion, in other words, it involves the reaction between a fuel and an oxidant. The result of this type of reaction is heat or heat and light. The fuel which I am talking about, in most cases, are organic compounds. Now this reaction may occur with a faster pace or in a slow manner. And that is why there are many types of it, which you would come to know once you go through the combustion reaction examples described below.
Examples of A Combustion Reaction
The combustion reaction examples have been explained in the following with the help of the many types of the process.
The first in the combustion reaction examples would be, what we known as fire. In scientific terms, it is known as rapid combustion, wherein, heat and light are produced in high amounts. In some gases, apart from the heat and light, a large amount of gas is also produced, and this gives rise to a build up of excessive pressure. This pressure could be manifested by a loud noise, which we known as explosion.
Our second example is about a much slower combustion. Here, the temperature at which the combustion operates is very low, thus, the process is flame-less. It is known as smoldering combustion, which only occurs on the surface. The rate at which this combustion proceeds is ten times slower than that of the rapid combustion.
Another important example of combustion reaction is what is known as the cellular respiration. Even this is a slower kind of combustion reaction. The body obtains energy as a result of this reaction. This energy is produced along with carbon dioxide and water, when the glucose (acts as the fuel) reacts with oxygen (as the oxidant). Due to the relatively slow nature of combustion, the heat generated in this process is not manifested as the fire that occurs when a wood is burnt.
Coming to this segment in the combustion reaction examples, it is about combustion of fossil fuels or let’s say hydrocarbons (organic compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen). Common examples include methane, CH4, propane, C3H8, butane, C4H10 and octane, C8H18. Now, there are two kinds of combustion that may take place with hydrocarbons; complete and incomplete. In the first type, the reaction takes place in ample quantity of oxygen, yielding limited number of products such as energy, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. For example, when methane burns in oxygen, it yields carbon dioxide and water.
CH4 + 2O2 => CO2 + 2H2O
Then comes what is known as an incomplete combustion reaction. Here, oxygen is not present in a quantity that is required to produce carbon dioxide and water. This means that the fuel is not allowed to react completely with oxygen. In other words, the reaction remains incomplete, as a result of which, it yields products that would be created in a complete combustion, along with a few other products. An example of this may be the reaction of methane in an inefficiency of oxygen. The reaction might produce carbon monoxide and water, and when the oxygen is decreased further, it may also produce carbon and water.
CH4 + 1.5O2 => CO + 2H2O
CH4 + O2 => C + 2H2O
The description that has been presented above to explain to you about the combustion reaction examples, can be ascribed to be the tip of an iceberg. There is much more to learn about it and yet more to understand. So if you wish to go deeper, then no source would be better than books.