MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: How much CO/CO2 is released in the combustion of wood?

Date: Thu Sep 16 12:53:29 1999
Posted By: Donald E Duggan, Undergraduate, Astronomy/physics - fire science, just plain ol' home
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 937266131.Ch

House fires produce large amount of CO and CO2 both. The CO is produced due
to incomplete burning and is itself a flammable gas. The CO2 produced 
would depend on the moisture content of the wood before the fire. The
wetter the wood, the more CO2 produced. However the beter the fire is able
to obtain oxygen in order to keep the free burning process up, the less CO
produced. I am sure there are numbers kept from experiments ran by companies
and organizations such as the NFPA, etc.

May i direct you to the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg,Pa. You may also
try some of the International Fire Service Training Association in Norman,
Oklahoma, or even your local library, and try to find the latest edition of
the NFPA handbook.

But I believe the question you ask begs for ideal conditions, something you
will nver find in any fire save those done under controlled
circumstances, as in Laboratories.

I know i have done nothing to answer your question, but perhaps I have put
you on a track that may help. You make some estimations. Just keep in mind
that in ordinary hous fires, inordinate amoutnts of CO are made due to
incomplete combustion.

Thanks for your question,

Donald E Duggan

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