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I think you will be better off measuring the volume change after complete burning. A common demonstration was to place a candle in a dish of shallow water and light it, then put a clear cup over it and see how much water was sucked into the bottom as the oxygen is consumed. utilizing the same effect in a more controlled way perhaps would be a ...

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You might get better results using titration. Pick a substance that reacts fairly completely with atmospheric oxygen, and measure how much needs to be added to remove all the $\ce{O2}$ from a known volume. For example, you might use washed, fine, steel wool (washing is needed o remove processing oils) to remove oxygen, and methylene blue with alkaline ...

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The opposite of a catalyst is essentially an inhibitor. From IUPAC's gold book Gold book inhibition: The decrease in rate of reaction brought about by the addition of a substance inhibitor), by virtue of its effect on the concentration of a reactant, catalyst or reaction intermediate. For example, molecular oxygen and p-benzoquinone can react as 'inhibitors'...

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The observed blue flame and explosion (the latter following per the quote, "Finally, the gases in the hull explode and blow up the deck") are likely the products of a hydrogen and air explosion. There are two potential sources for the hydrogen gas here. First, the coal fire heats the mass of coal releasing a gas mix, to quote Wikipedia on Coal Gas ...

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In a Bunsen burner, the gas (methane or propane) may burn under two practical regimes : reductive or oxidizing conditions. In the reductive conditions, the flame is yellow and unstable, because the amount of oxygen is low with respect to the stoichiometric ratio. In the oxidative conditions, the flame is noisy, strong and stable, and it is due to an excess ...

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