12. Heat, Energy, and Chemical        Bonds   Previous PageNext Page
       Fuels, Combustion, and Energy

If methane is combined later with a strongly electronegative element, oxygen, and the electrons are permitted to relax toward more electronegative atoms again, the stored energy is released.

In our spring model, combustion is analogous to releasing the constraints on the ball and letting the strong spring pull it back. In this model the spring is stronger for F than for O, so the energy released on combustion in fluorine is greater.

One reason why all life on this planet uses a second-best oxidant, of course, is the natural rarity of fluorine, which in turn goes all the way back to elemental synthesis and the fact that fluorine has an odd rather than an even atomic number.

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