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Topic: different fuels vs heating power  (Read 8861 times)

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mthorn

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different fuels vs heating power
« on: April 02, 2004, 12:52:16 PM »
   i have to do a presentation on the relative heating power of fuels. i know that fuels are organic, but what exactly happens when you light a match in the presence of fuel.  does the functional groups have anything to do with the power of the fuel. also lets say u have gas octane (C8H18) the fumes of gas ar4e more explosive then the liquid itself are the alkanes dissolving making the vapors more flammable if so this would show a difference in delta H i guess what i am trying to ask is what happens when fuel is burned and why
« Last Edit: April 24, 2004, 06:55:03 PM by Mitch »

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:fuels and what happens
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2004, 01:00:32 PM »
FYI.. liquid fuel dont burn.. it's their vapour that actually burn. Bu supplying heat, more liquid fuel will evaporate. At the same time, the applied heat will increase the temperature to the ignition point and viola! fire occurs..

Fire is actually a chemical chain reaction that evolves heat and light.
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Re:fuels and what happens
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2004, 02:11:47 PM »
Well, when alkanes burn... ideally with any combustion reaction there's usually not enough oxygen to go around with.  So ideally you would need a situation where there's the highest surface area contact with the fuel and the air, which is best as a vapor.  When you heat these long alkane chains, they can undergo cracking where the chains turn into smaller alkanes, which give them more surface area making them easier to burn.  Ultimately under high heat the molecules turn into radicals as they undergo combustion and you'd find interesting enough a lot of hydroxide radicals... there's a whole chemistry devoted to this called fire chemistry where some chemists try to figure out what chemicals are best to put out fires by examining the mechanism of combustion.

Also, no matter how you burn it, a fuel would only have a fixed amount of potential energy.  You can't get more out of it than there is.  You can however burn it more efficiently and actually get closer to getting a complete burn of all your fuel with oxygen because there are a lot of side reactions that don't yield as much energy as with reacting with oxygen.
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Seymor-Omnis

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Re:fuels and what happens
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2004, 02:48:23 PM »
  i have to do a presentation on the relative heating power of fuels. i know that fuels are organic, but what exactly happens when you light a match in the presence of fuel.  does the functional groups have anything to do with the power of the fuel. also lets say u have gas octane (C8H18) the fumes of gas ar4e more explosive then the liquid itself are the alkanes dissolving making the vapors more flammable if so this would show a difference in delta H i guess what i am trying to ask is what happens when fuel is burned and why

You said fuels are organic, but isnt Hydrogen also a fuel?  If not, could you tell me why?

Offline Mitch

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Re:fuels and what happens
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2004, 03:42:47 PM »
He meant fuel in like a gas tank of an automobile.
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