Combustion chemistry is a branch of chemistry concerned with the study of how things burn. Technically, combustion is a chemical reaction between two or more chemicals that produces that heat and sometimes light. There are a number of interesting topics to explore within the field, and several colleges and universities have facilities dedicated specifically to this area of chemistry. Researchers who work in this field can conduct pure research, act as consultants for facilities which use combustion for various processes, and work with government agencies or private organizations that promote the advancement of chemistry.
One area of interest in combustion chemistry is which types of chemical reactions result in combustion, and what kind of conditions and chemical compounds need to present for the process to occur. Combustion efficiency is also a field of interest, exploring how efficiently certain compounds burn, and what kind of conditions could increase this efficiency. Both of these areas have real world applications, ranging from the design of car engines to the development of safety protocols for chemical labs.
Chemical reactions that produce heat are also of interest because they can be used to produce energy. The generation of energy is a continuous subject of scientific inquiry, as it has a number of far-reaching implications for the world at large. Understanding the complex mechanisms of combustion, including cascading chemical reactions, is another area of focus, with chemists attempting to learn as much as possible about chemical combustion and ways in which it could be applied.
Avoidance of inadvertent combustion is also a concern. Unstable chemicals and elements can present a safety risk if they are in environments where they are prone to catching fire. Researchers study unstable chemicals and elements to learn more about how they can be properly secured and controlled, with the goal of reducing accidents and undesirable chemical reactions that could interfere with various activities. Safety organizations may hire a combustion chemist to research and develop safety protocols for handling chemicals.
People who are interested in studying combustion chemistry will need to find an educational institution that offers training in this field. For graduate students, this includes research in lab facilities where experiments and observations can be performed, allowing students to develop and test hypothesis which they can use in the thesis they will be expected to submit as part of the process of obtaining an advanced chemistry degree.