Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction between a fuel (the reductant) and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxygen, that produces oxidized, often gaseous products, in a mixture termed as smoke. Combustion does not always result in fire, because a flame is only visible when substances undergoing combustion vaporize, but when it does, a flame is a characteristic indicator of the reaction. While the activation energy must be overcome to initiate combustion (e.g., using a lit match to light a fire), the heat from a flame may provide enough energy to make the reaction self-sustaining.

Combustion is often a complicated sequence of elementary radical reactions. Solid fuels, such as wood and coal, first undergo endothermic pyrolysis to produce gaseous fuels whose combustion then supplies the heat required to produce more of them. Combustion is often hot enough that incandescent light in the form of either glowing or a flame is produced. A simple example can be seen in the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen into water vapor, a reaction which is commonly used to fuel rocket engines. This reaction releases 242 kJ/mol of heat and reduces the enthalpy accordingly (at constant temperature and pressure):


















































{\displaystyle {\ce {2H_{2}(g){+}O_{2}(g)\rightarrow 2H_{2}O\uparrow }}}

Uncatalyzed combustion in air requires relatively high temperatures. Complete combustion is stoichiometric concerning the fuel, where there is no remaining fuel, and ideally, no residual oxidant. Thermodynamically, the chemical equilibrium of combustion in air is overwhelmingly on the side of the products. However, complete combustion is almost impossible to achieve, since the chemical equilibrium is not necessarily reached, or may contain unburnt products such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen and even carbon (soot or ash). Thus, the produced smoke is usually toxic and contains unburned or partially oxidized products. Any combustion at high temperatures in atmospheric air, which is 78 percent nitrogen, will also create small amounts of several nitrogen oxides, commonly referred to as NOx, since the combustion of nitrogen is thermodynamically favored at high, but not low temperatures. Since burning is rarely clean, fuel gas cleaning or catalytic converters may be required by law.

Fires occur naturally, ignited by lightning strikes or by volcanic products. Combustion (fire) was the first controlled chemical reaction discovered by humans, in the form of campfires and bonfires, and continues to be the main method to produce energy for humanity. Usually, the fuel is carbon, hydrocarbons, or more complicated mixtures such as wood that contains partially oxidized hydrocarbons. The thermal energy produced from combustion of either fossil fuels such as coal or oil, or from renewable fuels such as firewood, is harvested for diverse uses such as cooking, production of electricity or industrial or domestic heating. Combustion is also currently the only reaction used to power rockets. Combustion is also used to destroy (incinerate) waste, both nonhazardous and hazardous.

Oxidants for combustion have high oxidation potential and include atmospheric or pure oxygen, chlorine, fluorine, chlorine trifluoride, nitrous oxide and nitric acid. For instance, hydrogen burns in chlorine to form hydrogen chloride with the liberation of heat and light characteristic of combustion. Although usually not catalyzed, combustion can be catalyzed by platinum or vanadium, as in the contact process.


June 28, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Drake Bows Atop Billboard 200 and Hot 100 With ‘Honestly, Nevermind’ and ‘Jimmy Cooks’

Drake's surprise-released, house-driven LP crashes the charts, albeit with a less resounding debut than 2021's 'Certified Lover Boy.'

June 21, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Joji Debuts in the Hot 100’s Top 10 With Viral ‘Glimpse of Us’ Single

The alt-R&B singer-songwriter scores his first major Hot 100 hit with his new TikTok-approved relationship ballad.

June 14, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Post Malone Debuts at No. 2 on Billboard 200 With ‘Twelve Carat Toothache’

Post Malone's first album of the 2020s debuts with a strong showing -- albeit not as strong as some previous efforts.

June 7, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ Hits New Peak After ‘Stranger Things’ Bump

"Hill" re-enters the Billboard Hot 100 at a new peak of No. 8 this week, following extensive use in the fourth season of 'Stranger Things.'

June 1, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Harry Styles’ ‘Harry’s House’ Moves Over 500,000 Units in Its First Week

Styles' third solo album becomes the fourth straight No. 1 album to set a new mark for the best first-week numbers of 2022.

May 31, 2022

Instagram removes former K-pop star Seungri from the platform

The singer was recently charged for his involvement in the Burning Sun scandal The post Instagram removes former K-pop star Seungri from the platform appeared first on NME.

May 24, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’ Scores Best First Week of 2022

The long-anticipated new album also launches all 18 of its tracks on the Billboard Hot 100.

May 17, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Bad Bunny Debuts at No. 1 With Year’s Best Single-Week Tally For ‘Un Verano Sin Ti’

The 274,000 units moved by 'Verano' also marks the best single week for any album in the Puerto Rican superstar's career.

May 11, 2022

How Frida Kahlo, The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, and Burning Fake Chinese Money Inspired Ibeyi’s New Album

The French-Cuban siblings break down the books, artists, and artifacts that inspired their entrancing third LP, Spell 31.

May 10, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Future’s ‘I Never Liked You’ Debuts at No. 1 With 2022’s Biggest First Week

The album also notches all 16 of its tracks on the Hot 100, including a No. 1 debut for "Wait For U."

May 4, 2022

Chartbreaker: With Slow-Burning Hit ‘Wilder Days,’ Morgan Wade & Her Team Are Eyeing a Global Career

The rising singer-songwriter’s breakthrough hit is continuing to ascend on Billboard’s country charts more than a year after its release.

May 3, 2022

Five Burning Questions: The Kid LAROI’s ‘Thousand Miles’ Scores Top 20 Debut on Hot 100

The genre-hopping star's latest single previews his official debut album.

April 29, 2022

Diplo, Miguel Team Up for ‘Don’t Forget My Love’ on ‘Fallon’

Diplo also shared how he rescued a cow at Burning Man — while high on LSD

April 26, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Morgan Wallen’s ‘Don’t Think Jesus’ Debuts in the Hot 100’s Top 10

Wallen's first new release of 2021 lands with his second-biggest bow to date.

April 19, 2022

Burning Man collective Robot Heart to bring new festival to Central Park

Burning Man collective Robot Heart to bring new music and arts festival to Central Park on April 30 and May 1. The post Burning Man collective Robot Heart to bring new festival to Central Park appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

April 19, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Jack Harlow’s ‘First Class’ Debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

The instantly viral hit is Harlow's first Hot 100-topper as a lone lead artist.

April 17, 2022

Isaiah Rashad Addresses Alleged Sex Tape Leak During Coachella Set

Isaiah Rashad performed for the first time since the alleged leak, where he addressed the video for the first time since the release of 'The House Is Burning.'

April 15, 2022

Maren Morris Duets With John Mayer During Nashville Concert

The "Circles Around This Town" singer joined Mayer for a duet of "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room."

April 12, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Harry Styles Debuts Atop Hot 100 With Huge Streaming Numbers For ‘As It Was’

The song becomes Styles' first song to enter atop the chart, and the first No. 1 bow from any artist in 2022.

April 5, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Machine Gun Kelly Scores Second Straight No. 1 Album With ‘Mainstream Sellout’

'Sellout' becomes one of just a handful of rock LPs to top the Billboard 200 in the 2020s.

April 5, 2022

Burning Man’s Robot Heart Art Car Will Make Its First Off-Playa Appearance In New York

The bus will be the center of a three-day event called Fare Forward happening in Central Park April 29-May 1.

March 29, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Imagine Dragons Return to the Hot 100’s Top 10 With ‘Enemy’ Alongside J.I.D

The collab, which serves as the theme to a hit Netflix animated series, has ascended to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

March 22, 2022

This Is Your Chance to See Burning Man’s Famed Mayan Warrior Art Car Off the Playa

In June, the Mayan Warrior will embark on a cross-country tour in celebration of its 10-year anniversary.

March 22, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Sweetest Pie’ Debuts at No. 15

The new collab from the two pop stars lands in the top 20 of this week's Hot 100.

March 15, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Camila Cabello and Ed Sheeran’s ‘Bam Bam’ Debuts at No. 23

The song marks Cabello's best start of the decade on the Billboard Hot 100.

March 8, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Glass Animals’ ‘Heat Waves’ Gets to No. 1 in Its 59th Week on the Hot 100

The unexpected pop-rock smash sets the record for the longest journey to No. 1 on the Hot 100.

March 6, 2022

David Byrne brings ‘Burning Down The House’ to CBS Saturday Sessions

He brought his 'American Utopia' band to TV amid their second Broadway run The post David Byrne brings ‘Burning Down The House’ to CBS Saturday Sessions appeared first on NME.

March 5, 2022

See David Byrne, ‘American Utopia’ Cast Perform ‘Burning Down the House’ on ‘CBS Mornings’

Talking Heads frontman and crew also deliver "Everybody’s Coming to My House" and "Marching Through the Wilderness" from acclaimed Broadway residency

March 1, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Charlie Puth’s ‘Light Switch’ Brightens Up the Top 40

The upbeat pop-rock song is already Puth's biggest solo hit in four years.

February 23, 2022

Five Burning Questions: Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby Score a Pair of Hot 100 Top 20 Debuts

It’s been almost four years since we’ve gotten a full-length album from Nicki Minaj, but a new era from the rap great appears to be on the way with the arrival this month of two new singles, both featuring star guest Lil Baby: “Do We Have a Problem?” and “Bussin.” “Problem” arrived first, dropping on […]


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