Combustion Products

To learn more about the chemical reactions that are taking place during combustion, we need to know what the products of the reaction are.

You need to look at these video clips of cellulose burning. Be ready to make a list of your observations.
When you're ready to observe the first reaction, play the video.

Now lets try the reaction another way.
When you're ready to observe the this reaction, play the video.

Cellulose and how it burns

Activity 2: Incomplete Combustion

Now can you use your lists of observations to answer the following questions.

  1. What elements are found in cellulose? What could they form when they combine with oxygen? Hint:Look at the structure of cellulose again.
  2. What do you think the products are when cellulose is burned?
    Hint: In many ways, combustion is similar to metabolism. What "products" of metabolism do you exhale?
  3. What different product(s) are produced when the cellulose is burned in the beaker?
    Hints:Look carefully at the combustion in a beaker. What is the "fog" that appears on the beaker? Don't forget about that black stuff that's left behind.
  4. Did all of the cotton ball burn in both reactions? What do you think is responsible for the difference?
    Hint: Go back and look at the two combustion reactions again. Think about the fire triangle.

We often assume that combustion goes to completion. Life is often more complicated than that, though! Let's continue on to learn more.