MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Why does paper burn hotter than a gas?

Date: Thu Aug 6 20:09:32 1998
Posted By: Jeff Robertson, Faculty, Physical Sciences, Arkansas Tech University
Area of science: Physics
ID: 901726167.Ph

In order to burn something you need three things.
Oxygen, Heat, and Fuel.  Take away any one, no fire.
You might be interested in the fuel portion.  When you burn something, it
is called combustion in chemistry.

Fuel + Oxygen ----heat---> products + energy

The combustion breaks chemical bonds, which store energy.  So it depends
on what you burn, how much energy you get out.  My only guess with
your question is that paper (i.e. wood pulp) is made of atoms and molecules
which release more energy under combustion than say methane gas.

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