The concept of limit burning velocities is used to formulate a quantitative theory of flammability limits. Competing processes dissipate power from a combustion wave and quench propagation at some characteristically low limit velocity. There are four competing processes and one complication: (a) free, buoyant convection, (b) conductive-convective wall losses, (c) radiation, (d) selective, diffusional demixing (the complication), and (e) flow gradient effects (flame stretch). These complexities are unraveled by creating an idealization that is initially freed from these competing processes. The ideal serves as a standard, and its burning velocity (su)ideal is a unique function of the initial thermodynamic variables of state. By adding each process individually, it is possible to evaluate their significance, quantitatively, in terms of a limit velocity (su)a,b,c, or e, and to explore the nature of their cooperative interactions. The larger the limit velocity, the more significant the process. The apparently diverse observations of flammability behavior are readily unified within this simple, conceptual framework.