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The Combustion Or the Burning of Fuels, as an Example of Oxidation and Reduction

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The combustion or the burning of fuels, is perhaps the most common and obvious example of oxidation and reduction. Combustion is also that process which converts the potential energy of fuels into kinetic energy (heat and light). Most fuels (gasoline, diesel oil, propane, etc.) are compounds comprised primarily of carbon and hydrogen. These hydrocarbons represent an excellent source of potential energy which is released as heat during the combustion process.

A common example is the oxidation of propane, the fuel used for gas ranges: C3H8 + 5 O2 —–> 3 H2O + CO2 + HeatAs propane burns in air, its carbon atoms are oxidized when they combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. In turn, molecular oxygen is reduced by the hydrogen atoms, forming water. The heat produced can be used directly such as in the cooking of foods or to cause the expansion of the gaseous products produced to perform mechanical work such as in an internal combustion or steam engine.

DISCUSSION Many other substances besides hydrocarbons can be used as fuels. For example, the alcohols, such as methanol (CH3OH) and ethanol (CH3CH2OH) are often used in racing cars. Ethanol mixed with gasoline, called gasohol , is currently being explored as a substitute for gasoline. Among the simplest fuels is molecular hydrogen (H2) which readily reacts with oxygen forming water as shown: 2 H2 + O2 ——> 2 H2O + EnergyThe simplicity and “nonpolluting” aspect of this oxidation-reduction reaction, the amount of energy produced, and the relative abundance of both hydrogen and oxygen in our environment, makes hydrogen a very attractive alternative fuel source. Research efforts are currently focused on further developing the technology to broaden its use as a source of energy.

FOSSIL FUELS:The primary use of fuel combustion is energy. The most common fuels used for the production of energy are fossil fuels, which are made up of ancient, decomposed organic matter. Oil, coal, and natural gas are three of the most common fossil fuels used in fuel combustion reactions. The energy produced when these fuels are combusted can be used to power vehicles anything from cars to normal household appliances.

TYPES OF FEL USED IN FUEL COMBUSTION:Solid fuels: Solid fuels burn in three phases·Preheating stage: In the preheating stage, their temperature increases until they reach their flash point and begin to release flammable gases.

Distillation phase: In this distillation phase, the gases released from the solid are burning, flames are often visible, and an extreme amount of heat is released.

Charcoal Phase: The final stage is the charcoal phase, in which the solid does not contain enough flammable gas to burn consistently, instead it simply glows and smolders.

Liquid fuels: Liquid fuels are likely to burn only in the gaseous phase. They are heated until they begin to evaporate, and the vapor catches fire. Gas fuels: Gases tend to burn quickly and easily as they are already in an energized state and their particles are far apart, allowing them to mix with oxygen and react easily.

USES OF FUEL COMBUSTION:.·Most of the electricity produced worldwide results from the combustion of oil, coal and natural gas. Natural gas(methane, CH4) is a relatively clean fuel and coal is the dirtiest.·The primary use of fuel combustion is energy which is used for various purposes. Rocket engines, internal combustion, or piston engines, and jet engines all depend on the burning of fuel to produce power.

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