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What is Methane Combustion?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Methane combustion is a chemical reaction that occurs from burning methane gas — which is an odorless and colorless fossil fuel — causing high amounts of heat and pressure to be produced. This gas is not present in the atmosphere around us, but it can be extracted through mining processes from basic fossil fuels throughout the world. Methane by itself cannot be caused to burn effectively without using oxygen as an additive. This combination is what causes methane to begin burning, which is called methane combustion.

The heat and pressure that is produced from methane combustion is the energy that is used in various vehicles and machines used for personal and professional use, such as fuel burning industry machinery and hot-air balloons, as well as in Bunsen burners. This combustion process gives off energy, as well as bi-products of carbon dioxide and water, which can cause pollution to the surrounding environment and air if prevention steps are not taken. In many applications, methane combustion will be combined with other hydrocarbon gases in order to achieve the required energy to run the objects that require it.

The actual process that causes methane combustion begins with oxidative pyrolysis, in which methane is converted into carbon monoxide. The chemical formula for this is CH4+O2>>CO+H2+H20. Next, the extra hydrogen will react to the oxygen to form water, which will cause a release of some heat within the combustion chamber. The chemical formula for this process is CH4+O2>>CO+H2+H2O.

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Along with the extra hydrogen, the carbon monoxide that is formed will also react to the surrounding oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which causes even more heat to form within the combustion chamber that is being used. The chemical formula for this process is 2CO2+O2>>2CO2. The complete chemical formula, when the atmospheric conditions are standard, is written as CH4+2O2>>CO2+2H2O+891KJ/mole, giving the final scientific formula in the methane combustion process that is used to maximize the methane combustion process.

In basic terms, methane combustion begins with combining oxygen with methane within some type of combustion chamber, such as inside the block of an engine, and ends with heat being produced. This heat causes pressure within the chamber which will force outward, causing the various parts in the machinery or engine to begin moving. The heat is used during the process while the bi-products, carbon dioxide and water, are expelled through the exhaust systems. This process is how most types of vehicles and modern machinery work, and is a necessary aspect of personal and professional tasks in today’s high technological world.

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