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A fuel is defined as any substance, solid, liquid or gas which can be easily ignited and burned to produce heat, light or other useful form of energy. For example, coal, charcoal, gasoline (petrol), kerosene (paraffin), light oils, fuel oils, natural gas, liquified petroleum gases, hydrogene, etc.

The oxidizer is a substance that will react with, and promote oxidation of a fuel. Oxygen is the most common oxidizing agent involved in combustion (burning) processes.

The oxygen supply for combustion usually comes from the air, because obtaining pure oxygen is expensive and difficult. Because air contains a large proportion of nitrogen, the required volume of air is much greater than the required volume of pure oxygen.

The nitrogen in the air does not take part in the combustion reaction. It does, however, absorb some of the heat produced with the result that the heat energy is spread thinly though a large quantity of air and combustion products. This means that a much lower flame temperature results from combustion in air as opposed to burning in pure oxygen.



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