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A chemical reaction that

proceeds with evolution of heat and usually also a

flame; most combustion involves reaction with oxygen
Most combustion reactions we observe involve O2 from air as a reactant.
Hydrocarbons combusted in air react with O2 to form CO2 and H2O.* The number
of molecules of O2 required and the number of molecules of CO2 and H2O formed
depend on the composition of the hydrocarbon, which acts as the fuel in the reaction

Combustion is an exothermic reaction and the heat evolved from this reaction can be
measured by the principles of calorimetry.

Calorimetry is an important field of analytical chemistry which deals accurately

measuring heats of reaction and finds application in fields ranging from nutritional
to explosive yield tests. The need for increasingly accurate reference measurements and
the limited effects of experimental technique mean that more advanced instrumentation
is often the single best way to improve calorimetric accuracy in precision.

How are enthalpy changes determined experimentally? First, you must understand
that the only thermal quantity that can be observed directly is the heat q that flows into
or out of a reaction vessel, and that q is numerically equal to H only under the special
condition of constant pressure. Moreover,q is equal to the standard enthalpy change
only when the reactants and products are both at the same temperature, normally 25C.
The measurement of q is generally known as calorimetry.
The most common types of calorimeters contain a known quantity of water which
absorbs the heat released by the reaction. Because the specific heat capacity of water
(4.184 J g1 K1) is known to high precision, a measurement of its temperature rise due
to the reaction enables one to calculate the quantity of heat released.

- - >>>>>>[Thermochemistry and calorimetry]

Most serious calorimetry carried out in research laboratories involves the determination
of heats of combustion, since these are essential to the determination of standard
enthalpies of formation of the thousands of new compounds that are prepared and
characterized each month.
In order to ensure complete combustion, the experiment is carried out in the presence of
oxygen above atmospheric pressure. This requires that the combustion be confined to a
fixed volume.
Since the process takes place at constant
volume, the reaction vessel must be
constructed to withstand the high
pressure resulting from the combustion
process, which amounts to a confined
explosion. The vessel is usually called a
bomb, and the technique is known
as bomb calorimetry. The reaction is
initiated by discharging a capacitor
through a thin wire which ignites the
Another consequence of the constant-volume condition is that the heat released
corresponds to qv, and thus to the internal energy change U rather than to H. The
enthalpy change is calculated according to the formula
H = qv + ngRT
in which ng is the change in the number of moles of gases in the reaction.

The heating value is

the amount of heat produced by combustion a unit quantity of a fuel

We differentiate between gross and net heating values:

Gross (or high, upper) Heating Value
The gross or high heating value is the amount of heat produced by the complete
combustion of a unit quantity of fuel.
The gross heating value is obtained when
all products of the combustion are cooled down to the temperature before the
the water vapor formed during combustion is condensed
Net (or lower) Heating Value
The net or lower heating value is obtained by
subtracting the latent heat of vaporization of the water vapor formed by the combustion
from the gross or higher heating value.
Common Units
Common units for heating value:
1 Btu/lb = 2326.1 J/kg = 0.55556 kcal/kg
1 J/kg = 0.00043 Btu/lb = 2.39x10-4 kcal/kg
1 kcal/kg = 1.80 Btu/lb = 4187 J/kg

In this experiment, you will determine the molar enthalpy change, CH , for the
combustion of
naphthalene, C10H8. In general, the total change in enthalpy (H) is given as the change
in internal
energy (U) plus any pressure-volume work [(PV)] that accompanies the process.

SEE exp4. For better citations