Interactive Self-Study Module: Combustion Reactions


This module uses screencasts to explain how to perform material balance calculations on systems involving combustion reactions, determine the percent excess air for a given system, and determine the empirical formula of a combustion reaction fuel based upon the mass of each product generated. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts.
  2. Watch the screencasts that describe the basis of material balances involving combustion reactions.
  3. Review important equations for combustion reactions.
  4. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  5. Answer the ConcepTests.
  6. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • Combustion reactions are used to generate heat and are used extensively to produce steam for turbines that generate electricity. 
  • This module is intended for use in a material and energy balances course.
Before studying this module, you should:
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Determine the percent excess air in a combustion reaction.
  • Use material balances to calculate flue gas (or exit gas) composition on wet and dry bases for combustion reaction systems.
  • Determine the empirical formula of a combustion fuel based upon combustion results.
  • Explain the difference between complete and incomplete combustion.