Gas for Cooking
If a cold object is held in the bright flame of an ordinary gas jet, it becomes covered with soot, or particles of unburned carbon. Although the flame is surrounded by air, the central portion of it does not receive sufficient oxygen to burn up the numerous carbon particles constantly thrown off by the burning gas, and hence many carbon particles remain in the flame as glowing, incandescent masses. That some unburned carbon is present in a flame is shown by the fact that whenever a cold object is held in the flame, it becomes "smoked" or covered with soot. If enough air were supplied to the flame to burn up the carbon as fast as it was set free, there would be no deposition of soot on objects held over the flame or in it, because the carbon would be transformed into gaseous matter.
Unburned carbon would be objectionable in cooking stoves where utensils are constantly in contact with the flame, and for this reason cooking stoves are provided with an arrangement by means of which additional air is supplied to the burning gas in quantities adequate to insure complete combustion of the rapidly formed carbon particles. An opening is made in the tube through which gas passes to the burner, and as the gas moves past this opening, it carries with it a draft of air. These openings are visible on all gas stoves, and should be kept clean and free of clogging, in order to insure complete combustion. So long as the supply of air is sufficient, the flame burns with a dull blue color, but when the supply falls below that needed for complete burning of the carbon, the blue color disappears, and a yellow flame takes its place, and with the yellow flame the deposition of soot is inevitable.