NOVA Online (see text links below)
Fire Wars
On Fire
Shuffle Atoms (2)

Shuffle (2)

The illustration above shows a methane molecule that has oxidized completely.

Sometimes the combustion of a fuel is not complete. For example, if the fuel mixture is too rich—that is, the fuel-to-oxygen ratio is too high—there will not be enough oxygen to allow the fuel to fully oxidize. This can result both in the formation of carbon monoxide (CO) instead of CO2 and in a sooty flame.

Next, find out what make fire visible with a Flame Experiment.

Strike a Match | Chain Reaction | Flame Experiment

Printer-Friendly Format   Feedback

The Producer's Story | The World on Fire | Outfitting Wildland Firefighters
How Plants Use Fire | Glossary of Fire Terms | Wildfire Simulator | On Fire
Resources | Transcript | Site Map | Fire Wars Home

Search | Site Map | Previously Featured | Schedule | Feedback | Teachers | Shop
Join Us/E-Mail | About NOVA | Editor's Picks | Watch NOVAs Online | To Print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated June 2002


Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site

Shop Teachers Feedback Schedule Previously Featured Site Map Search NOVA Online Fire Wars Site Map