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Q & A: Burning charcoal in oxygen gas

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Most recent answer: 07/16/2009
Q:
how does the burning of charcoal in oxygen gas look different from the burning in air?
- farnaz (age 15)
toronto
A:
If you burn charcoal in oxygen gas, it should make a bright flame and burn very quickly. The charcoal may even explode, especially if it is ground into powder first.

If you burn charcoal in air, it usually burns slowly, giving an orange glow from the burning layer of charcoal, leaving white ash behind.

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-Up #1: Combustion products of burning charcoal

Q:
which gas burning charcol produce
- anupam (age 12)
jaipur,rajasthan,india
A:
Since charcoal is mainly carbon and interacts with oxygen the end result is mainly CO2 ,carbon dioxide.  Unfortunately, if you burn charcoal in an oxygen deficient atmosphere you can get some CO, carbon monoxide, as well.   This odorless gas is very poisonous and can kill you.  So when burning charcoal never do it in a small unventilated space.

LeeH   

(published on 07/16/2009)

Follow-up on this answer.