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Could someone explain fire on the atomic level?

  1. Nov 23, 2004 #1
    could someone explain fire on the atomic level? in six easy pieces it says heat is usually in the form of molecular motion but sometimes it can be so enormous that it generates light. but how? can the motion of these molecules form other types of electromagnetic radiation (secondary question)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2004 #2
    Yes, heat is quite often attributed to molecular motion.. but it really makes sense to think about the atomic version of it.. heat in microscopic sense is just the random or chaotic energy which an atom or molecule has.. if this energy is high enough, some of the electrons of the atom jump to higher atomic orbitals and since they r unstable there, they return back to their original orbital by emitting a photon and thereby giving out light..
    so, a flame can be , in a sense be attributed to the emission of random thermal energy in the form of photonic energy.. , and when the frequency of the emitted photon is in visible region, we see it as light..

    hope it answers ur question..
  4. Nov 24, 2004 #3
    the concept of a photon is confusing to me; ill have to read stuff on it. are molecules always emitting electromagnetic radiation and sometimes the frequencies reach the visible spectrum?
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