1) Any chemical reaction in which a substance (fuel) combines with oxygen to produce
heat and often light. Combustion reactions usually involve a complex
sequence of free-radical chain reactions. The light is produced by excited
atoms, molecules, or ions.
M.E., from O.Fr. combustion, from L. combustionem (nominative combustio) "a burning," noun of action from p.p. stem of comburere "to burn," from → com-, intensive prefix + urere "to burn."
Suzeš, → burning
Fr.: combustion nucléaire
Fr.: combustion spontanée
The self-ignition of a substance that produces sufficient heat within itself, by a slow oxidation process, for ignition to take place without the need for an external high-temperature source. The produced heat energy is absorbed by the substance raising its temperature slowly until the → ignition temperature is reached. Same as spontaneous ignition.