Suppose a log's mass is 5kg. After burning, the mass of the ash is 1kg. Explain what may have happened to the other 4kg?

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Oct 20, 2017


The other four kg have been changed into carbon dioxide and water.


In combustion the hydrocarbons (essentially sugars) are combined with Oxygen to produce energy Carbon dioxide and water. The reactions is very similar to the chemical reaction found in respiration where glucose sugar is changed into energy. The equation is

# C_6H_12O_6 + 6O_2 = 6 CO_2 + 6 H_2O#

Carbon dioxide and heated water vapor are gases. As the wood burns ( rapid oxidation) the gases are released from the reaction along with heat, fire and smoke ( unburned carbon) The gases have mass but are not visible. The mass of the gases produced is the mass lost during the burning.

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