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Combustion, or not Combustion?

  1. Nov 13, 2007 #1
    what is needed for combustion?

    I have this experiment NH4NO3 reacts to form (with chlorine as catalyst) N2O and water

    the experiment is called oxidation of zinc, so another equation is Zn and NH4NO3 react to form ZnO and water. Anyways, the result is a blue flame and smoke

    Combustion is the production of heat and light when something reacts with oxygen. I know that all combustion reactions are automatically oxidation reduction reactions. But how do i determine if oxygen is being used in this reaction to fuel the flame. Basically, is theis a redox and combustion reaction.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2007 #2
    Sorry, could you rephrase your question more precisely?
    You want to know about:
    NH4NO3 + heat --> N2O + 2H2O
    or about:
    NH4NO3 + Zn --> N2 + ZnO + 2H2O
    or what exactly?
  4. Nov 13, 2007 #3
    How do I know if this reaction is a combustion reACTION? wHERE DOES IT REACT WITH OXYGEN TO PRODUCE HEAT AND LIGHT.
  5. Nov 13, 2007 #4
    Which reaction of the ones I've written?

    NH4NO3 + heat --> N2O + 2H2O
    Fuel: NH4+ [to be more precise: nitrogen(-III) in NH4+]
    Oxidant: NO3- [nitrogen(+V) in NO3-]

    NH4NO3 + Zn --> N2 + ZnO + 2H2O
    Fuel: NH4+ and Zn
    Oxidant: NO3-

    So, yes, they both are combustions, even the first one (AFAIK).

    Anyway, maybe someone could define a reaction as "combustion" only if a fuel reacts with oxygen (it would sound strange to me); I don't know how they defined it in your school/books/ecc.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2007
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