GCSE Chemistry: Combustion

5th April 2017

GCSE Chemistry Revision

The process of Combustion - all you need to know for the new syllabus!


For all examination boards including, WJEC, OCR, AQA and Edexcel, it is important that you know about the process of combustion as it is likely to come up in your examination. Combustion is an important process as it is linked to the production of energy.

Let’s take a look at some of the key facts about combustion:


  • Combustion occurs when a fuel burns in plenty of air - energy is released as heat, but some is also wasted as light

  • Complete combustion means that there is sufficient oxygen for the fuel to fully react

  • Fuels such as natural gas and petrol contain hydrocarbons. When a hydrocarbon burns the carbon oxidises to form carbon dioxide and the hydrogen oxidises to water

  • When there is not sufficient oxygen for the fuels to burn completely, it is called incomplete combustion. Water is still produced but so is carbon monoxide and carbon. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous to health so house boilers are regularly serviced to ensure that complete combustion is taking place

  • When many fossil fuels are burned they produce sulfur dioxide which produces the effect of acid rain

  • When fuel is burned in vehicle engines they produce nitrogen dioxide which also contribute to acid rain

  • Acid rain is damaging to the environment


These are some of the key things you need to know about combustion. To learn more about energy, energy production and energy transfers, take a look at the following songs:

These will make sure you are prepared for your GCSE Chemistry examinations.


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