There are three different types of combustion:

1) Spontaneous combustion

The combustion in which substances suddenly burst into flames, without the application of any apparent cause is called spontaneous combustion. For example, sodium and phosphorus burn spontaneously in air, even when no external heat is provided to them.

2) Rapid combustion

The combustion in which substances burn rapidly to produce heat and light is called rapid combustion. In rapid combustion, external heat must be supplied so that the substances can burn. For example, when a burning matchstick is brought near a gas stove (with its knob turned on), LPG burns rapidly to produce heat and light.

3) Explosion

The combustion in which sudden reactions take place on ignition of some substances to produce heat, light, and sound is called explosion. For example, fireworks on ignition produce heat, light, and sound. Other substances such as dynamite also explode when ignited to produce huge amounts of energy. Dynamite is used to explode mountains to build roads, train tracks, and tunnels in hilly areas.

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In rapid combustion, a substance burns rapidly producing heat and light.
For example: a matchstick burns rapidly on being struck against the sides of a matchbox.
Spontaneous combustion is a type of combustion which occurs without an external ignition source. It is usually a slow process that can take several hours of decomposition/oxidation with heat building up to a point of ignition.
An explosion is a rapid increase in volume and release of energy in an extreme manner, usually with the generation of high temperatures and the release of gases. An explosion creates a shock wave. If the shock wave is a supersonic detonation, then the source of the blast is called a "high explosive". Subsonic shock waves are created by low explosivesthrough the slower burning process known as deflagration.

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  • Rapid combustion releases massive amounts of energy in the form of heat and light, as is the case with fire. In some cases, combustion occurs so fast that large amounts of gas are released along with heat and light, causing a significant pressure shift in the surrounding atmosphere. This pressure shift, often accompanied by a very loud noise, is called an explosion. Internal combustion engines convert the energy produced by rapid combustion into usable kinetic energy.
  • Spontaneous heating and combustion differs from most other types of combustion in that no external ignition source is required for it to proceed. An extremely slow process, spontaneous combustion can take up to several weeks. It consists of the gradual oxidation of certain materials when exposed to air, and is greatly dependent on the fuel's heat-retaining capacity. As heat builds up, the rate of reaction increases, eventually causing smoldering or flaming combustion when the temperature rises above the fuel's ignition point. Spontaneous combustion occurs in a variety of organic and inorganic materials, such as hay, coal, linseed oil, manure and cotton

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