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Last updated date: 15th Jul 2024
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Explain About Fire?

Fire is described as a rapid burning of combustible material with the evolution of heat, and it is usually accompanied by flame. Also, it is one of the essential tools of the human race, control of which helped start it on the path towards civilization.

Source of Fire and Uses of Fire By Early Man

Undoubtedly, lightning was the original source of fire, and such type of fortuitously ignited blazes remained as the only source of fire for aeons. Peking man, about 500,000 BCE, was thought to be the undisputed earliest user of fire for a few years; however, evidence discovered in Kenya in 1981 and South Africa in 1988 indicates that the earliest powered fire use by hominids occurred about 1,420,000 years ago. Neolithic man did not learn reliable fire-making techniques until about 7000 BCE, in the form of saws, drills, and other friction-producing tools, or flint struck against pyrites. Then, even it was more convenient to put a fire alive permanently instead of reigniting it.

Uses of Fire

Let us look at the uses of fire below.

Gradually, the first human beings to control the fire learned its several uses. They had learned to use fire not only to cook their food and stay warm, but also to use it in fire drives in warfare or hunting, to gather berries, to kill insects, and to clear forests of underbrush so that game could be hunted more effectively by sight. They discovered that burning brush created better grasslands and, as a result, In Neolithic times, in the Middle East, about 7000 BCE, with the achievement of agriculture, there came a newer urgency to clear trees and brush.

The first agriculturists have made use of the fire in clearing the fields and producing ash to serve as fertilizer. This practice, which is known as slash-and-burn cultivation, persists in several tropical areas and a few temperate zones today.

Fire Manufacturing

The step ranging from the fire control to its manufacture is very great and needed hundreds of thousands of years. The variety and several inventions of fire of such manufacture are more difficult to imagine. There is no proof that human beings knew how to make fire until the Neolithic period. It is unknown whether a chance spark from striking flint against pyrites or a spark created by friction while drilling a hole in wood gave humans the idea to make fire; however, pyrites and flint, as well as fire drills, have been recovered from Neolithic sites in Europe.

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The friction method of producing fire was most common among prehistoric and primitive peoples. The simple fire drill, which is a pointed stick of hardwood twirled between the palms and then pressed into a hole on the stick's edge of softer wood, is mostly universal. The fire saw and the fire-plow are variations on the friction method very common in Australia, Indonesia, and Oceania.

Whereas the mechanical fire drills were developed by the ancient Egyptians, Eskimo, Asian peoples, including some American natives. A fire piston was a complex device that was invented and used in southeastern Indonesia, Asia, and the Philippines to create heat and fire by compressing air in a narrow bamboo tube. Around 1800, in Europe, a metal fire piston was independently invented. And, in 1827, the English chemist named John Walker invented the friction match that contains phosphorus sulfate, importantly similar to that which is in use now.

Types of Combustion

Complete Combustion

In the complete combustion type, the reactant burns in the oxygen and forms a limited number of products. When a hydrocarbon burns in the oxygen, primarily, the reaction will yield water and carbon dioxide. When these elements are burned, primarily, the products are the most common oxides.

Sulfur yields sulfur dioxide, carbon yields carbon dioxide, and iron yields iron (III) oxide. Nitrogen is not considered a combustible substance when oxygen is the oxidant. But still, fewer amounts of different nitrogen oxides (generally designated as NOx species) form when the air is oxidative.

Combustion is not certainly favourable to the maximum oxidation degree, and it may be temperature-dependent. For example, sulfur trioxide cannot quantitatively be produced by the combustion of sulfur.

Incomplete Combustion

If there isn't enough oxygen available for the fuel to fully react and emit both water and carbon dioxide, incomplete combustion occurs. Also, it happens when the combustion can be quenched by a heat sink, such as a flame trap or a solid surface. As this is the case with complete combustion, water can be produced by incomplete combustion; however, carbon monoxide, carbon, and hydroxide are produced instead of carbon dioxide (CO2).

For most of the fuels, such as coal, wood, diesel oil, pyrolysis takes place prior to combustion. In the incomplete combustion case, pyrolysis products remain unburnt and contaminate the smoke with noxious particulate gases and matter. Partially the oxidized compounds are also a major concern; partial oxidation of ethanol may produce harmful acetaldehyde, and carbon may produce toxic carbon monoxide.

FAQs on Fire

1. Explain About Spontaneous Fire?

Ans. Self-heating (increase in temperature due to exothermic internal reactions), followed by a thermal runaway (self-heating that accelerates rapidly to higher temperatures), and finally, ignition are all characteristics of spontaneous combustion. For example, at room temperature, phosphorus self-ignites without the application of heat. Organic materials undergoing bacterial composting may generate sufficient heat to reach the combustion point.

2. What is Meant By Smouldering?

Ans. Smouldering is described as a low-temperature, slow, flameless type of combustion sustained by the heat generated when oxygen directly attacks the surface of a condensed-phase fuel. It's usually a case of incomplete combustion. cellulose, tar, cotton, wood, peat, synthetic foams, tobacco, charring polymers (including polyurethane foam), and dust are examples of solid materials that can withstand a smouldering reaction.

3. Discuss Micro-Combustion.

Ans. Combustion processes that happen in fewer volumes are considered micro-combustion. And, the high surface-to-volume ratio increases particular heat loss. Also, the quenching distance plays a key role in stabilizing the flame in such combustion chambers.

4. Give the Example of Trace Combustion Products.

Ans. Excess oxygen is used in diesel engines to burn smaller particles, which only form with stoichiometric oxygen amounts, resulting in nitrogen oxide emissions. Both the European Union and the United States enforce limits to vehicle nitrogen oxide emissions, which necessitate the special catalytic converter's use or the treatment of the exhaust with urea.