The term complete combustion generally is used in connection with the burning of hydrocarbons. Combustion is the process of burning that occurs when fuel, oxygen, and heat are simultaneously present. The result of complete combustion is the release of energy,carbon dioxide, and water vapor. If the hydrocarbon contains sulfur, sulfur dioxide also will be present. On the flip side, incomplete combustion results in some of the carbon atoms combining with only one oxygen atom to form carbon monoxide and other potentially harmful byproducts.
Usually, the combustion process is triggered by heating a hydrocarbon above its ignition temperature in an oxygen-rich environment. When the compound is heated, the chemical bonds of the hydrocarbon are split. The elements of the hydrocarbon then combine with the oxygen to form oxygen-containing compounds known as oxides. This rearrangement of hydrocarbon elements into oxides is accompanied by release of energy and heat.
Complete combustion occurs when the fuel and oxygen are in the perfect combination, or ratio, to completely burn the fuel. This condition also is referred to as stoichiometric or zero excess air combustion. On the other hand, incomplete combustion may leave some of the fuel unused.
What is combustion process?
Combustion means to burn. For the combustion process to take place, fuel, oxygen, and an ignition heat source are required to start a chemical chain reaction; in a campfire, for example, wood is the fuel, the surrounding air provides the oxygen, and a match or lighter can ignite the fire. Increasing any of these elements will increase the fire's intensity, while eliminating any one of them will cause the process to stop. If the campfire is smothered with water or dirt, for example, the oxygen can no longer get to the heat and fuel, and it goes out.
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