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Re: Oxygen Burning??

To: Scott Gardner <>
Subject: Re: Oxygen Burning??
From: "John J. Peloquin" <>
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 10:43:38 -0700 (PDT)
Technically, Oxygen itself is not "flammable" if by flammable one means
can catch fire by combining with oxygen. However, in the prescence of
oxygen, almost anything organic (containing carbon) will burn. In high
oxygen atmospheres, the combustion can be so rapid as to resemble an
explosion. For example, charcoal briquets soaked in liquid oxygen ARE
explosive in the prescence of a flame. The energy is released as oxygen
in the atmosphere combines with the carbon and hydrogen etc. present in

On Sat, 11
Apr 1998, Scott Gardner wrote:

=%OHere's hoping for some help from the chemist-types on the list.  I've 
=%Oalways assumed that pure oxygen is extremely flammable.  If this is 
=%Otrue, what is the chemical reaction for the combustion process?  If 
=%Oit's a pure oxygen environment, the left side of the equation will be 
=%Ojust oxygen (Mostly diatomic oxygen, or O2).  Since it's a 
=%Onon-nuclear reaction, the right side must be solely oxygen as well.  
=%OIs all the energy released simply from O2 molecules breaking up into 
=%Omonatomic oxygen atoms?  If that's the case, am I to assume that 
=%Omonatomic oxygen isn't flammable?  Could we breathe it?
=%O     Sorry if this seems stupid.  This isn't another one of my brain 
=%Oteasers.  I just got to thinking about it, and can't come up with a 
=%Ogood answer.

"Never ascribe to Malice that which can be explained by Ignorance"

John J. Peloquin
Molecular Biology &
3205 BioSciences II
Irvine, CA 92697-3900

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