Hazards of Combustion

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EFFECTS & HAZARDS OF COMBUSTION A combustion reaction is a major class of chemical reactions. Combustion usually occurs when a hydrocarbon reacts with water to produce carbon dioxide and water. In the more general sense, combustion involves a reaction between any combustible material and an oxidizer to form an oxidized product. Combustion is an exothermic reaction, so it releases heat, but sometimes the reaction proceeds so slowly that a temperature change is not noticeable. Good signs that you are dealing with a combustion reaction include the presence of oxygen as a reactant and carbon dioxide, water and heat as products. Inorganic combustion reactions might not form all of the products, but are recognizable by the reaction of oxygen. General Form of a Combustion Reaction hydrocarbon + oxygen → carbon dioxde + water Along with heat, the burning of every combustible material or product produces smoke—gases and aerosols that, in sufficiently high concentration, present hazards to people in the vicinity. Products near those already burning may also contribute to the smoke as they decompose from exposure to the heat from the fire. Predominant among the hazards, which generally occur simultaneously, are the following: Sensory irritation of the upper and/or lower respiratory tract, which can affect speed of movement and the ability to negotiate escape and, at higher exposures, can lead to incapacitation or death Central nervous system depression resulting from inhalation of asphyxiant fire gases, which can, in ascending exposures, lead to impaired judgment, disorientation, loss of motor coordination, unconsciousness, and, ultimately, death Thermal effects, including hyperthermia and thermal burns of the skin and respiratory tract Exposure to these hazards is often prolonged by eye irritation and diminished visibility due to smoke obscuration, which can affect

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