Deflagration is the process and result of deflagration. This verb, which derives from the Latin word deflagrāre, refers to what a substance does when it burns suddenly, without an explosion but with a flame.
A deflagration produces reactions that are the same as those generated by combustion : an oxidation process rapidly develops, causing a flame to appear. This flame, due to thermal diffusion, can advance.
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When an explosion occurs, however, the combustion is linked to a propagating shock wave. In any case, it is common for deflagration to be used as a synonym for explosion, although they are different concepts.
An explosion suddenly releases energy that was locked up in a small volume, causing a violent increase in pressure that generates a roar and the release of gases, light, and heat. Deflagration, on the other hand, implies the sudden appearance of a flame.
The development of a deflagration requires a series of factors, which must meet certain conditions, as explained below:
* first of all, a flammable product is necessary which must be mixed with the air, and must be at its flash point ;
* on the other hand, an ignition source must make an energy contribution;
* Before the caloric stimulus, the volatile particles of the product experience a spontaneous reaction. This stimulus functions as a primary initiator or reaction catalyst.
Let’s see some of the concepts related to deflagration that are mentioned in the previous lines. We start with the flash point, which is also known by the following names: ignition point or fire point. It is the group of physical conditions of a combustible material (such as its temperature or its pressure ) that are essential for it to start burning when a heat source (which is called an ignition source ) approaches it and that the flame does not go out when it is removed.
When an external heat source is applied to a combustible substance and it is heated, it begins to go through an oxidation process. This reaction is exothermic, that is, it takes place with the release of heat. As the temperature increases, the oxidation occurs at a faster rate, and this continues until the moment in which the heat given off is sufficient for the ignition to continue without the need for the external source.
On the other hand we have the concept of catalyst, a fundamental component of the deflagration. To define it, we first need to talk about the process called catalysis, which is used to increase the speed of a chemical reaction. In catalysis, a substance known as a catalyst acts , which activates the process, and some called inhibitors, which deactivate it.
Firearms, for example, cause a deflagration when their powder charge ignites. Gunpowder is the propellant that allows the projectile to be fired at high speed.
A match or match also causes a deflagration. When the head is rubbed on the corresponding surface, it reaches its ignition temperature and ignites. The redox reaction linked to the deflagration ignites the fuel present in the head of the tool.
Other very common examples of the phenomenon of deflagration can be seen in the following cases: the combustion that takes place in an oven or a gas stove, for example, when air and gas are mixed; in an internal combustion engine, which uses a mixture of air and fuel; mixtures present in rock-breaking devices and fireworks.