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Combustibility is generally defined as the quality of substances to chemically react exothermically with oxygen. This definition can be generalized to the reaction with other oxidizing agents.

Combustibility, although a pre-condition for inflammability is not directly correlated with measures like the flash point, because combustible substances can be poorly inflammable. In relation to Lavoisier's law of conservation of matter, which states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed only altered, the combustion or burning of a substance causes a chemical change, but does not decrease the mass of the original matter. The mass of the remains (ash, water, carbon dioxide, and other gases) is the same as it was prior to the burning of the matter.