What Are Examples of Combustion?

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Examples of combustion, or combustion reactions, include the burning of coal and other fossil fuels, methane gas, and even sparklers and fireworks. Combustion reactions are essentially chemical reactions, and take place all around the world every day. Some reactions, such as the burning of coal and oil, are large and repetitive actions while smaller combustion reactions occur when fireworks and sparklers are lit and burned.

Chemical reactions, regardless of scope and duration, are quite common. These reactions include all processes by which atoms of one or more substances are rearranged to form different substances. These rearrangements are often short-lived, but powerful and intense events. Chemical reactions occur in many types, and take place when substances react with oxygen, which in turn releases energy in the form of heat and light. Burning coal qualifies as a combustion reaction because coal transforms from a solid element to a vapor during the process. Coal is comprised primarily of carbon, and when heated, reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere. In turn, it gives off large amounts of heat, making it a stable source of heat and energy. Fireworks are smaller examples of combustion: when the end of a sparkler or firework is lit, heated chemicals react with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce heat and light that transpires as colorful displays.