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Why is Hydrogen so flammable?

  1. May 7, 2005 #1
    Why are certain gasses so flammable? What makes hydrogen so combustious? Is it because they have low kindling points? If so what determines a kindling point, and are gasses known to have lower kindling points compared to solids?

    Here is an extra curricular question: What makes Carbon so strong?

    That is a little off topic but I don't want to have to make another thread and crowd up the boards with my ignorance. Help me rid myself of my incompetence.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2005 #2


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    I would assume hydrogen is so flamable because it so readily wants to bond with other atoms. If the reaction has a low activation energy, then it will be easy to start. For example, hydrogen gas and oxygen gas need only a small spark to make water. the key is having the needed components for the reaction.

    Carbon has 3 allotropes,

    Graphite is not strong at all, it is quite brittle, like in pencil "lead". When carbon is in the form of graphite, it forms hexagonal bonds with other carbon atoms, that form in planes than can easily break.

    Diamonds however are the hardest thing on Earth if I am not misstaken. It forms very rigid, tight bonds with other carbon atoms.

    Fullerines form "balls" of carbon. You almost need a picture or 3D model to understand what they look like, but these two are strong. They are being considered in making new types of nano wires and various other things out of tubes make out of the "balls" or carbon.

    It is all about how the carbon is bonded.
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