One-nm-thick graphene engine mimics two-stroke engine

( —It may sound impossible that a 1-nm-thick piece of graphene—made of just a single layer of carbon atoms and containing some chlorine and fluorine atoms—can function as a two-stroke combustion engine. After ...

Team spots elusive intermediate compound in atmospheric chemistry

JILA physicists and colleagues have identified a long-missing piece in the puzzle of exactly how fossil fuel combustion contributes to air pollution and a warming climate. Performing chemistry experiments in a new way, they ...

A new way to degrade plastics that turns them into fuel

(—A combined team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of California has found a way to degrade ordinary plastics in a way that allows for fuel to be created from plastic trash. In ...

Digesting hydrocarbons

Volatile organic compounds can be found in the air—everywhere. A wide range of sources, including from plants, cooking fuels and household cleaners, emit these compounds directly. They also can be formed in the atmosphere ...

A new way to measure energy in microscopic machines

What drives cells to live and engines to move? It all comes down to a quantity that scientists call "free energy," essentially the energy that can be extracted from any system to perform useful work. Without this available ...

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Combustion (English pronunciation: /kəmˈbʌs.tʃən /) or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame. Fuels of interest often include organic compounds (especially hydrocarbons) in the gas, liquid or solid phase.

In a complete combustion reaction, a compound reacts with an oxidizing element, such as oxygen or fluorine, and the products are compounds of each element in the fuel with the oxidizing element. For example:

A simple example can be seen in the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen, which is a commonly used reaction in rocket engines:

The result is water vapor.

Complete combustion is almost impossible to achieve. In reality, as actual combustion reactions come to equilibrium, a wide variety of major and minor species will be present such as carbon monoxide and pure carbon (soot or ash). Additionally, any combustion in atmospheric air, which is 78% nitrogen, will also create several forms of nitrogen oxides.

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