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Materials that are burning

  1. Oct 23, 2011 #1

    Ive got what some can call a simple question. When an object is burning, I know the 3 things a fire needs are energy, fuel and oxygen. When the object, lets say a sheet of paper, do the oxygen atoms combine with atoms of the paper and become the ash, soot, and smoke the results? I have a basic knowledge that there is CO2 released, which I would have to go and say that O2 combine with C during that reaction, which is part of the smoke. Does the Ash contain the oxygen that was used up by the reaction as well as the smoke?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2011 #2
    No. The smoke and ash you can see are broken up left-over bits of carbon from the reaction. Carbon dioxide is a gas and is transparant, so you can't see it. As is water vapour, the other product of the reaction.
  4. Oct 23, 2011 #3
    Check here:


    and note some of the links like oxidation:

    "Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion."

    fire is a self sustaining chain reaction: rapid oxidation...in contrast to,say, rusting.....which is slow.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  5. Oct 24, 2011 #4
    I thought fire had to include oxygen.
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