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I Photons being released from fire/heat

  1. Jun 3, 2016 #1
    (correct me if I'm wrong;
    When new bonds form in the process of combustion, the energy being released is given as kinetic energy to the molecules (heat) and the kinetic energy is (somehow) absorbed by electrons to reach and excited state, eventually dropping down again and releasing photons of energy.

    I guess this is linked to black-body radiation, but I'm just guessing this is the process since I can't find any-body that really explains it in detail online.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    It's not a "chain reaction" of energy transfer as what you wrote implies. The chemical reaction leads to fragments or new molecules to fly off with greater kinetic energy, but the products are not in any sense in their internal ground state. There is plenty of rotational, vibrational, and electronic excitation following the reaction. It is the following relaxation of this excitation that leads to the emission of light (visible/UV in the case of electronic excitation, infrared fro vibrations).
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