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spontaneous combustion

spontaneous combustion, phenomenon in which a substance unexpectedly bursts into flame without apparent cause. In ordinary combustion, a substance is deliberately heated to its ignition point to make it burn. Many substances undergo a slow oxidation that, like the rapid oxidation of burning, releases heat. If the heat so released cannot escape the substance, the temperature of the substance rises until ignition takes place. Spontaneous combustion often occurs in piles of oily rags, green hay, leaves, or coal; it can constitute a serious fire hazard.

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"spontaneous combustion." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"spontaneous combustion." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/spontaneous-combustion

spontaneous combustion

spontaneous combustion Outbreak of fire without external application of heat. Phosphorous, for example, ignites spontaneously in air. When combustible material, such as damp hay, paper or rags, is slowly oxidized by bacteria or air, the temperature may rise to the ignition point.

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"spontaneous combustion." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"spontaneous combustion." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/spontaneous-combustion

"spontaneous combustion." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/spontaneous-combustion

spontaneous combustion

spon·ta·ne·ous com·bus·tion • n. the ignition of organic matter (e.g., hay or coal) without apparent cause, typically through heat generated internally by rapid oxidation.

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"spontaneous combustion." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"spontaneous combustion." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/spontaneous-combustion

"spontaneous combustion." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/spontaneous-combustion