spontaneous heating

spontaneous heating
   Also known as spontaneous combustion. Initially, a slow, exothermic reaction at ambient temperatures. Liberated heat, if undissipated (insulated), accumulates at an increasing rate and may lead to spontaneous ignition of any combustibles present. Spontaneous ignition occurs sometimes in haystacks, coal piles, warm moist cotton waste, and in stacks of rags coated with drying oils such as cottonseed or linseed oil.

Forensic science glossary. . 2012.

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