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What is the significance of heat of combustion?Just say I burned for example methane...

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shfo369 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM via web

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What is the significance of heat of combustion?

Just say I burned for example methane and propane to boil some water. Methane has the heat of combusion of 890KJ/mol and propane has the heat of combustion of 2200KJ/mol.

What does the difference in heat of combustion tell us?

In another words, propane's heat of combustion is bigger. Does that mean that propane will boil the water faster than methane?

Thank you for your help

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ndnordic | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 19, 2011 at 4:33 AM (Answer #1)

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Heat of combustion is a measure of the amount of heat energy released when a given fuel is burned.  The larger the number the more heat energy that is released in the burning process. The more heat energy released the faster a substance being heated will increase in temperature. It is similar to heating two pots of water on a stove using either methane or propane.  If one burner is set on high, while the other is on low, it will take the burner set on low longer to heat the water because less heat energy is being applied to the water.

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