Definition and Introduction
Since combustion is an essential part of all fires, including wildfires and fires at the wildland-urban interface, thorough knowledge of combustion is a significant underlying element in addressing the topic of this encyclopedia. A chemical process that liberates heat, combustion typically involves finite-rate chemistry in fluid flow with heat and mass transfer. The science of combustion is focused on obtaining basic descriptions of combustion phenomena by experimental and mathematical methods. The principles are sufficiently well developed that the subject qualifies as an applied science.
Unwanted fires involve specifically the combustion of available fuels in air. Combustion studies contribute to the development of methods for fire prevention, fire detection, fire hazard evaluation, fire damage assessment, and fire suppression. For example, investigations of mechanisms for extinction of combustion suggest elements of operation for fire extinguishers...
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