Originally posted by sonhouse
But the fuel is organic, not metallic. So if you put Zinc next to copper oxide, the result would be zinc oxide and pure copper precipitate?
It is basically an exothermic chemical reaction as is most burning. The only difference between it and burning in air is that instead of pure oxygen, we have copper oxide as one of the reactants.
The article you quote is comparing it to gunpowder. I suspect the reaction would be similar to that of gunpowder which you can of course learn about here:
Note that it is all about the movement of oxygen from the 'oxidizer' to the 'fuel'.