Combustion is a planned and calculated explosion that is created for a specific use. It takes place in a monitored space at a projected time. The process requires three main elements, namely; fuel, oxygen and the source of ignition. Combustion reactions have a variety of uses including the burning of fuel that provides space heating or power for an automobile. Combustion of natural gas or propane could also provide heat that can be used for cooking.
In order for combustion to happen, a fuel has to be mixed with oxygen or alternatively, another oxidant. This mixture has to be given sufficient time for the burning process to be complete and produce energy. Insufficient oxygen or oxygen that has not properly mixed with the fuel can result in an incomplete combustion process.
“There are three “T’s” for combustion, they are; Temperature, Turbulence and Time” the late Dr. Tony Biddlestone
Like any other explosion, combustion can be hazardous when it is not properly monitored. To get a combustion reaction that serves its purpose, the quantities of fuel and oxygen have to correct. When the quantities are not correct, an explosion or a leak of toxic chemicals could happen. This would be a very serious occurrence as it could result in injury or fatality. This could also result in lethal releases and fires. This poses a threat to people and the environment.
How does combustion affect the environment?
There are various impacts of combustion on the environment, these impacts can be caused by; Gas leaks, oil spillage, noise and air pollution. When fuel and oxygen have not been properly mixed, carbon monoxide emerges, it can be harmful to both the environment and to people.
Hydrocarbons are organic compounds that are made of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. They are found in many places, including crude oil and natural gas. When these are burnt, carbon dioxide is always released. It is a leading cause of global climate change and the acidification of oceans. Although carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that helps to keep us warm, too much greenhouse gas could result in global warming.
Although combustion has a list of negative environmental effects, it produces the amount of energy needed in various industries and in domestic set-ups. To minimise the impact it has on the environment, we should all strive to consume as little energy as possible.