I'm trying to understand what fire is at an atomic level. I'd appreciate it if you guys could correct me where I am wrong and fill in any gaps. 1: When you heat an object it introduces energy. 2: This energy causes the atoms in the object to jiggle around. 3: At some point introducing the heat will provide enough energy to overcome the electro magnetic energy holding the atoms of the object to other atoms and they break apart and fly off. Note: I am describing the breaking up of molecules, not the splitting of atoms. Do the atoms "jiggle" or does the energy cause their electrons to move to higher shells and that causes them to break apart from other atoms they are binded to? What is the process here? 4: Some of these molecules bond with oxygenising gas atoms in the environment (such as oxygen.) Note: This happens because atoms are stable when their electron shells are full 1st - 2 electrons 2nd - 8 electrons 3rd - 8 electrons 4th - 18 electrons Oxygen is made of 1st = 2 electrons 2nd = 6 electrons So in the 2nd shell we can add 2 hydrogen atoms (1 + 1) to get water or we can add a single helium (2). Alternatively for every 2 oxygen we could add a single carbon (4 electrons in outer shell). How am I doing so far? This is pretty much guess work on my part to be honest so I expect most of it to be wrong. Also, may I ask how the smoke would be described, and also if it is possible to have fire without any smoke at all? Here is where I get REALLY sketchy! 5: When certain atoms with the oxygen atoms there are too many electrons in the combined molecules so electrons are emitted. Is that right, do electrons get emitted? If that were the case I'd have expected electricity. I'd imagine it is more likely that electrons drop into a lower shell and then give off photons of different energy levels (depending on the atom type.) 6: As these (electrons/photons) are emitted they hit our eyes and we see light. 7: Photons below the visible frequency we feel as heat. 8: Some of these photons collide with other atoms in the pre-burned material and give them extra energy, causing a chain reaction. Maybe understanding what happens when hydrogen is ignited would help me to understand an average garden fire? Thanks very much for your time!