The Combustion of Diamond and Methane
Methane is a hydrocarbon compound that is found in a gaseous state at room temperature. It has the chemical formula CH4, it is an odourless, colourless gas that is a large percentage of ‘natural gas’ and is a large contributor to global warming as it is a greenhouse gas and is flammable so is used as a fuel. Methane is a product of the covalent bonding of carbon and hydrogen. Products of the combustion of methane include carbon dioxide, water, soot and carbon monoxide. Soot and carbon monoxide are produced during the incomplete combustion of methane. Methane is combusted to generate energy in power plants, the formula for the combustion of methane is CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O.
Methane will combust and react more rapidly than diamond as it require less activation energy and because it is a simple covalent compound that has single covalent bonds between carbon and hydrogen atoms. The collision theory helps to explain these conclusions as it states that ‘For a reaction to take place, the particles must collide, with sufficient energy.’ This energy required is the activation energy, and as diamond’s structure is a giant covalent one, with strong inter molecular bonds, a lot more energy is required to break these bonds to react with another substance, than to break the simple and weak inter molecular bonds of methane.
Diamond is an allotrope of carbon and is a giant covalent structure. In this form of carbon each carbon atom is joined to four others, it is very hard and has a high melting point, it does not conduct electricity as it has no free electrons. Diamond will combust like any other carbon source, but it requires high temperatures and a great deal of activation energy to do so (above 700◦C).
Environmental consequences of combustion of carbons and hydrocarbons include contributing to global warming as carbon dioxide and methane collect in the lower atmosphere and reflect heat back to the Earth that...
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