Fire is the chemical reaction that occurs when fuel is exposed to oxygen, releasing heat energy. Flames are a visual indicator of this process, and it’s what most people think about when they hear the word “fire.”
The three ingredients needed to create fire—fuel, oxygen and a source of heat—are found naturally all over the world, and they’ve been used by humans since the beginning of time. But the process that allows fire to happen is a complex and highly controlled one.
A source of heat is a fundamental ingredient in fire, because it ignites the burning process and also helps to maintain it. It does this by warming the surrounding air and vaporizing fuels, both of which produce a lot of new heat.
The fuel we use for fires is a mix of molecules, most of them made from cellulose. When a piece of cellulose is heated, the fibers break down and release gases and water that are combustible.
Oxygen is the oxidizer we need to make fuel into gas and produce flames. It’s available in the atmosphere, but can be produced by various sources including sunlight, cigarette smoke or chemical reactions.
4. The fuel:
There are many different types of fuels, each with a unique makeup that affects how quickly and how much the fuel will burn. For example, vegetation with a low moisture content and a high density will burn faster than wood that has a lower moisture content and a low density.
5. The fire:
There’s another important aspect of the fire triangle that needs to be understood in order to understand why it is so incredibly dangerous for anyone in close proximity to it. The fire can be very dangerous to those around it because of the burning, smoke and the heat.
It can also cause severe burns, which could be fatal if someone is caught in the middle of it or cannot escape. Smoke can be toxic, and can cause asphyxiation if it contains carbon monoxide.
Regardless of the reason, it’s important to understand how fire works so that you can safely and easily extinguish it if it becomes too large or threatening.
6. The fuel:
You need the right amount of fuel to keep the chemical reaction going and to help it spread. That’s why it’s important to know the stoichiometric proportions of fuel and oxygen.
This information is essential for fire safety, because it allows you to ration out the fuel you have and avoid the danger of over-using or under-utilizing your supply of fuel.
7. The oxygen:
Fire requires a lot of oxygen to start and to stay burning. This is because the oxidation reaction that creates the heat necessary to start combustion takes place very rapidly.
The fuel and the oxygen can then work together to continue the combustion process. This cycle of chemical reactions produces a lot of new heat that keeps the flame burning.