Science stuff ya probably need to know - Combustion

Would you believe it that this is an actual chemical reaction! But yip, it tis.
And what makes this so, is that during the actual process, like all other chemical reactions, it’s atoms in the reactants that get rearranged to give you products. I suppose it’s cos we’re all so used to seeing burning-in-action that we don’t really give it too much thought.
So yes, combustion is all to do with the fact that the thing getting burnt is reacting with oxygen.

For example:

C + O2 = CO2

But there’s more, everyday items such as wood, natural gas, and, if you’re like me, your dinner are known to burn, whereas stuff like metals are seen to be non-flammable. OK, so having said that, some metals are quite flammable – for instance, you can heat magnesium ribbon in the lab and off it goes up in flames. But do the same with a chunk of iron and ya get nowt, yet, grind it down into a fine powder and light it… then BOOM!
Although this may seem pretty cool, having fine powders stored around the place can be an explosion waiting to happen – many a flour mill has been blown to smithereens in the past due to a build up of fine milled flour in the air coming into contact with an ignition source.
Right then, before we head off, it’s just worth mentioning this whole business about the use of the term’s inflammable, flammable, and, non-flammable. For centuries, as things went up in smoke, folks would get umselves mixed up as to whether the burning barn was ‘inflammable’ or ‘flammable’.
Luckily, all this has now been sorted out, and we now refer to things that burn to be ‘flammable’, and things that don’t burn to be ‘non-flammable’.
Hope this helps with your science learning and enjoyment.

© Willow Science 2021