Loading please wait

The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Try an activity or get started for free

Explain the Combustion of Fuels

In this worksheet, students will explain types of combustion and complete word and symbol equations.

'Explain the Combustion of Fuels' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 9 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Chemistry: Chemical Reactions

Curriculum subtopic:   Types of Chemical Reactions

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

How does a Bunsen burner work?


Bunsen burner


The Bunsen burner uses methane, CH4, which is found in natural gas. It is a hydrocarbon which means it is composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms only. There are many other hydrocarbons, such as butane C4H10, heptane C7H16 and ethane C2H6. They all just have a different number of carbon and hydrogen atoms in them.


When hydrocarbons such as methane burn in a plentiful supply of air, they react with oxygen in the air in a process called complete combustion, and carbon dioxide and water are formed. This happens when the air hole of a Bunsen burner is completely open so as much air as possible can get into the reaction. When the air hole is fully open, the flame is blue and it is very hot. This is because complete combustion produces lots of energy.


CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2


Bunsen burner heating liquid


But when the air hole is closed on a Bunsen burner, incomplete combustion occurs. This is because when the air hole is closed, there is now a limited supply of oxygen so when methane burns we get a yellow flame and it produces carbon monoxide rather than carbon dioxide, carbon particulates (in the form of soot) and water too. The yellow flame is not as hot, as incomplete combustion releases less energy than complete combustion. 


So you can now explain how a Bunsen burner works, hopefully!


Let's try some questions. 

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started

Try an activity or get started for free

  • National Tutoring Awards 2023 Shortlisted / Parents
    National Tutoring Awards 2023 Shortlisted
  • Private-Tutoring-WINNER-EducationInvestor-Awards / Parents
    Winner - Private Tutoring
  • Bett Awards Finalist / Parents
  • Winner - Best for Home Learning / Parents
    Winner - Best for Home Learning / Parents