2 Fire Investigation Terms Fire - Produced when a substance undergoes rapid oxidation involving heat and light.Fire Triangle – Shows the three elements needed to produce and sustain a fire.Flash Point – The lowest temperature to which a substance must be heated in order for the substance to give off vapors which will burn when exposed to a flame or ignition source.Point of Origin – The location where the fire started.Burn patterns –Noticeable patterns created by the fire as it burns.Accelerants – Substances, such as gasoline, paint thinner, and alcohol, that accelerate the burning process.Arson – A fire started deliberately.
3 The Chemistry of FireChemically, fire is a type of oxidation, which is the combination of oxygen with other substances to produce new substances.To start fire, the minimum temperature needed to spontaneously ignite fuel, known as ignition temperature, must be reached.The heat evolved when a substance burns is known as heat of combustion.
4 The Chemistry of FireAn additional factor, besides the liberation of energy, needed to explain fire is the rate or speed at which the oxidation reaction takes place.A fuel will achieve a reaction rate with oxygen sufficient to produce a flame only when it is in the gaseous state.
5 The Chemistry of FireA liquid burns when the temperature is high enough to vaporize it (flash point), while a solid must be hot enough to decompose into gaseous products (pyrolysis).Glowing combustion or smoldering is burning at the fuel-air interface, such as a cigarette.Spontaneous combustion, which is rare, is the result of a natural heat-producing process in poorly ventilated containers or areas.
6 The Combustion Reaction Flaming and Glowing Combustion Combustion is a rapid oxidation reaction, the combination of fuel and oxygen to form carbon dioxide, water, and heatChemical reactions that give off heat are called exothermic reactionsIncomplete combustion reactions produce poisonous carbon monoxide
7 The Combustion Reaction Flaming and Glowing Combustion 1. Necessary Components for Combustion:Combustion requires a number of components as shown by the fire triangle, tetrahedron, and pentagonThe fire triangle shows the essential components as: fuel, oxygen, & heatThe fire tetrahedron adds free radical reactions (chain reaction)The fire pentagon adds an ignition source
8 The Combustion Reaction Flaming and Glowing Combustion There are two ways to interrupt a combustion reaction: adding water to absorb heat or adding fire retardants to interrupt the chain reaction processThere are two major types of combustion:Flaming combustion - both the fuel and oxygen are in the gaseous phaseGlowing combustion - the fuel is solid and only oxygen is in the gaseous phase
9 The Combustion Reaction Flaming and Glowing Combustion 2. Nature of Fuels:Common fuels can be classified as solids, liquids or gasesGases – fuels include hydrogen gas, natural gas, methane, and propaneLiquids – fuels include gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene, and ethanolSolids – fuels include wood, coal, charcoal
10 The Combustion Reaction Flaming and Glowing Combustion 3. Characteristics of Fuels:Flash point – is the lowest temperature at which a liquid produces enough vapor to be ignited by a small flameFire point (self - ignition temperature) – is the temperature at which there is enough heat to cause combustion even in the absence of a source of ignitionFlammable Range – is a measure of the percentage of fuel that, when mixed with air, is needed to sustain combustion
11 The Combustion Reaction Flaming and Glowing Combustion Relative Vapor Density – a property of compounds relating vapor density to molecular weight. Most materials when vaporized are much heavier than airPyrolysis of Solid Fuels – the process by which solid materials are decomposed by heat, forming smaller molecules that can support flaming combustion