What is the relationship between heat release and mass loss?
The heat of combustion is the quantity of heat released when unit quantity of a fuel is fully oxidised. These are determined using an oxygen bomb calorimeter and are well reported in handbooks. If all fires involved complete oxidation then the heat released could be determined simply by weighing the sample as it burns and multiplying the mass loss by the heat of combustion. In reality, combustion does not usually proceed to complete oxidation but the effective heat of combustion is constant for a given material when burnt at a given heat flux under constant ventilation conditions. Instruments such as the cone calorimeter and the OSU determine the effective heat of combustion.