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The difference between Burning and Exploding

  1. Sep 11, 2009 #1
    Ill make some statements, which I believe to be true, please chime in and correct or add your own information.

    The difference is primarily the rate of chemical reaction?

    We are typically talking about an exothermic oxidation for both burning and exploding?

    As a private pilot I was warned about excessivly lean mixtures and high engine temp, which could lead to "detonation", an explosion of fuel rather than a controlled "burn".

    My 2008 Hayabusa Motorcyle has 12.5 to 1 compression ratio, High Octane fuel is recommended because of it's resistance to detonation (Detonation caused by high compression in this instance).

    Any input or other insight/examples appreciated. Thanks, John
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2009 #2


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    The difference between burning (deflagration) and explosion (detonation) has to do with the reaction rate, or rate of energy release, and whether the combustion reaction occurs subsonically or supersonically.
  4. Sep 11, 2009 #3
    Another difference between burning and exploding is that burning uses the oxygen in the air as the oxidant, while explosives contain their own oxidant.
  5. Sep 11, 2009 #4
    Good Point, a racer friend of mine was talking about oxygenated racing fuels one day, and how it affected his fuel/air(oxygen) mixture ratio. Thanks
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