Worksheet #6: Combustion Reactions

Worksheet 6 Combustion Reactions Balance Combustion Equations


Combustion reactions are a type of chemical reaction that involves the burning of a substance in the presence of oxygen. These reactions are responsible for producing energy in many industrial and domestic applications, as well as in the human body.

What is Combustion?

Combustion is the process of burning a substance in the presence of oxygen to produce heat and light. The reaction is exothermic, meaning it releases energy in the form of heat. The most common form of combustion is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

How Does Combustion Work?

Combustion reactions require three things: fuel, oxygen, and heat. The fuel is the substance that is burned, the oxygen comes from the air, and the heat is either provided by an external source or generated by the reaction itself.

Types of Combustion Reactions

There are two main types of combustion reactions: complete and incomplete. In a complete combustion reaction, the fuel is burned completely and produces only carbon dioxide and water. In an incomplete combustion reaction, the fuel is not burned completely and produces carbon monoxide, carbon, and other pollutants.

Examples of Combustion Reactions

Example 1: Burning of Methane

Methane is a hydrocarbon that is commonly found in natural gas. When methane is burned in the presence of oxygen, it produces carbon dioxide and water vapor. The chemical equation for this reaction is: CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O

Example 2: Burning of Wood

Wood is a complex mixture of organic compounds that can be burned to produce heat and light. When wood is burned, it undergoes an incomplete combustion reaction and produces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants. The chemical equation for this reaction is: C6H10O5 + 6O2 → 6CO + 5H2O

Applications of Combustion Reactions

Industrial Applications

Combustion reactions are used in many industrial applications, including power generation, transportation, and manufacturing. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are burned to produce heat, which is then used to generate electricity or power engines.

Domestic Applications

Combustion reactions are also used in many domestic applications, such as heating homes and cooking food. Natural gas and propane are commonly used as fuels for furnaces, water heaters, and stoves.

Biological Applications

Combustion reactions also play an important role in the human body. The process of cellular respiration, which generates energy for the body, involves the combustion of glucose in the presence of oxygen. The chemical equation for this reaction is: C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy


Combustion reactions are an important part of our daily lives, from the way we generate energy to the way we cook our food. Understanding the chemistry behind these reactions can help us to use them more efficiently and reduce their impact on the environment.