# How does combustion of hydrocarbons work?

Feb 5, 2016

Combustion is is a complex sequence of redox reactions involving a fuel, typically a hydrocarbon, and an oxidant, typically oxygen. The energy evolved by the reaction is used to produce work.

#### Explanation:

We can usually easily write the reaction stoichiometry for the combustion of any fuel. The products of complete combustion of a hydrocarbon are carbon dioxide and water. For the simplest hydrocarbon, methane:

$C {H}_{4} \left(g\right) + 2 {O}_{2} \left(g\right) \rightarrow C {O}_{2} \left(g\right) + 2 {H}_{2} O \left(g\right) + \Delta$

The $\Delta$ symbol denotes the output of energy, because strong $C = O$ and $O - H$ bonds are being formed.

Can you represent the combustion of ethane, ${C}_{2} {H}_{6}$, and propane, ${C}_{3} {H}_{8}$?