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Introduction To Organic Chemistry


Incomplete Combustion of Alkanes

Incomplete combustion as the term suggests, is when there is insufficient oxygen available to burn alkanes. Unlike alkanes complete combustion, there is also a production of carbon monoxide (CO(g)), steam (H2O(g)) and sometimes soot (C(s)) -solid carbon particles- with incomplete combustion. For example, when methane is burn in insufficient oxygen, carbon monoxide, as well as carbon dioxide, steam and soot are produced. Note the chemical equation below:

4CH 4(g) +7O 2(g) 2CO2(g) + 8H 2O(g) + 2C0(g)

Methane + 2 moles of Oxygen 2 moles of Carbon dioxide + 8 moles of Steam + 2 moles of carbon monoxide