The Combustion Of Household Fuels

1541 Words Jan 5th, 2016 7 Pages
The Combustion of Household Fuels

Fire, from humans’ first interactions with it, has been terrifying, delighting, and mysterious all at once. Yet it is impossible to imagine a day passing without any interactions with the phenomenon. From burning wood in the fireplace, to preparing tea on a stove operating with natural gas, to using charcoal for a backyard barbecue, different objects are chosen as the source of combustion depending on the task that they need to accomplish. Furthermore, with parents, teachers, and firefighters incessantly warning students not to place certain substances close to nearby ignition sources, one cannot help but wonder how the chemical characteristics of these substances play a role in determining their thermal properties.

Reflecting back on the 2013 Toronto blackout that left millions without electricity, many households including close neighbors needed to buy fuel for oil lamps and kerosene heaters to provide warmth amidst the sub-zero winter (Edmiston 2013). Knowing that marketed goods are oftentimes priced based on their weight, the efficiency of different fuels could then be ranked by the heat that they generate when a certain mass of it is combusted. Testing this ranking would thus be essential in knowing which fuel to buy when electricity is not readily available or when visiting regions of the world where natural gas heating is not the primary source of heat in homes. Of course, a key limitation to this study would be that…
Open Document