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The Basics of Fire and Combustion

A flame is a burning substance which produces new heat when it reacts with another material. Unlike oil, which burns in two steps without charring, gasoline burns in a single step, releasing its heat as a vapor. Humans have learned to regulate the amount of fuel they use, and we’ve developed tools that help us gauge our fuel consumption. Another example of a tool which uses heat and wax to vaporize, the candle, is a good example of a self-perpetuating reaction.

Exothermic reaction

Combustion, or the burning of combustible material, results in the emission of heat and light. The exothermic reaction to fire occurs when the fuel is combined with an oxidising agent, releasing heat and light. The heat released during this reaction drives further chemical reactions, which are known as exothermic reactions. This process is characterized by the net generation of energy, or heat, as a result of the weak bonds between the oxygen molecules.

Self-perpetuating reaction

Fire is a chemical reaction that continues to generate heat as it burns. The fuel reacts with oxygen and creates heat, releasing a gas. This gas reaches a temperature high enough to ignite and sustain the fire. The fuel will keep burning as long as it is supplied with oxygen and fuel. The heat energy from this chemical reaction spreads, causing the flame to grow. Its uninhibited chain reaction makes fire an incredibly dangerous thing to play with.

Rate of spread

The rate of spread of fire is the speed at which a fire spreads from its source. It is measured in chains per hour, and is a function of factors such as wind speed, slope, and moisture content. Fires spread quickly because the flaming zone, or fire head, moves rapidly away from their origin. Consequently, firefighters and public safety officials must be aware of the rate of fire spread in order to protect themselves and the public from a fire.

Flame color

Flame color is a phenomenon that can be seen in different types of fire, including natural and man-made. Flame color is caused by the presence of specific chemicals in the flame. For example, burning copper will produce a green flame, while lithium chloride will emit a pink flame. Burning strontium chloride will emit a red flame. Scientists use chemicals to create different kinds of flames, but these substances can be harmful to the environment. For that reason, scientists conduct the experiments in a confined space to prevent exposure to toxic fumes.

Defensible space

Defensible space is a term used to describe an area, natural or landscaped, that is designed to minimize the risk of fire in an urban setting. It is also known as firescaping and is especially important in the wildland-urban interface. Defensible space is one of several types of fire control and prevention methods. Defensible space is important in many contexts, from wildfire prevention to firefighting and suppression.