Discuss the Kinetic Stability of Fuels.

The combustion of fuels like coal in the presence of air or oxygen is thermodynamically feasible (C + O2 ———–> CO2) because ∆G is negative, yet the fuels are quite stable even in the presence of air or oxygen. This is because the activation energy for the combustion reaction is very high. On applying flame to the fuel, the part of the fuel and air in contact with the flame absorb heat which provides the necessary activation energy and the combustion starts. The heat liberated provides activation energy to the remaining fuel and hence the combustion continues. Thus fuels which are thermodynamically unstable are kinetically stable.

In other words, the stability of the fuels is due to the existence of energy barriers between the reactants and the products. These energy barriers have helped in the existence of life in the earth because if these barriers were not present, all the fuels on this earth would have burnt away by themselves.

Category: Chemical Kinetics

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