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COMBUSTION: UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE FLAME



  Apr 30, 2024

COMBUSTION: UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE FLAME



1. What is combustion?

Combustion is a type of chemical reaction known as a redox (reduction-oxidation) reaction. In this process, one substance loses electrons (oxidant) and another gains them (reductant). In the context of fuels, the fuel typically acts as the reductant.

2. How does combustion power internal combustion engines?

In internal combustion engines, like those in most cars and motorcycles, combustion occurs when the engine burns a fossil fuel, typically petroleum. The fuel, acting as the reductant, reacts with an oxidant (often oxygen in the air), releasing energy that powers the engine.

3. What are the byproducts of combustion?

Combustion generally results in the release of energy, heat, and a gaseous mix of highly oxidized matter known as smoke. Smoke can contain various pollutants depending on the fuel used and the efficiency of the combustion process.

4. Why is combustion important in the context of global warming?

The combustion of fossil fuels in internal combustion engines and industrial processes releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, contributing to global warming. Understanding and controlling these emissions is crucial for reducing their impact on the environment.

5. How do scientists study combustion?

Combustion science is a field devoted to studying the mechanics and impacts of combustion reactions. Scientists investigate these processes in various settings, including controlled laboratory environments and even in space, to understand how to make combustion cleaner and more efficient.

6. What are the goals of studying combustion in space?

Studying combustion in space, where gravity does not affect flames and smoke as it does on Earth, helps scientists understand the fundamental aspects of flame behavior and pollution formation. This research aims to discover new ways to control combustion processes and reduce pollutants in Earth-bound engines and industrial applications.

7. What is the future of combustion in the transportation sector?

While internal combustion engines currently dominate, the shift towards electric vehicles indicates a potential decline in the reliance on combustion-based power. This transition is driven by the need to reduce carbon emissions and combat global warming, alongside advancements in electric vehicle technology.

These FAQs aim to provide a clearer understanding of combustion and its implications, from everyday applications like powering vehicles to its broader environmental impacts.



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