Kerosene is a popular, colorless fuel (sometimes pale yellow) with many uses in all parts of the world, and research reveals that about 200,000 cubic meters of this fuel are expended per day.
More importantly, kerosene is useful in the aviation industry, primarily for fueling jet engines. Now, let’s inspect kerosene, discover whether kerosene is flammable, and other noteworthy details.
What Is Kerosene?
Kerosene, also known as “paraffin” or “lamp oil” is non-viscous, petroleum-based fuel oil. This fuel is one of the hydrocarbon liquids obtained from the fractional distillation of petroleum. Kerosene contains about 10 to 16 carbon atoms per molecule.
The impressive number of carbon atoms in kerosene enables it to combust easily, making it suitable as a fuel. Also, the name “kerosene” is coined from a Greek word—”keros” which means “wax”.
Kerosene was first discovered by a Canadian Geologist, Abraham Gesner, in the late 1840s. The major uses of kerosene include aviation fuel, as fuel for outboard motors, rocket engines, motorcycles, and many others.
Viscous products like wax, etc., can also be manufactured from kerosene. However, is kerosene indeed flammable, as we all assume? Let’s find out.
Is Kerosene Flammable?
A big yes! Kerosene is a combustible liquid that produces flammable vapors readily at its flash point. And the more flammable vapors kerosene gives off, the quicker it ignites.
Kerosene is categorized as a class IIIA flammable liquid. Liquids in this class are less volatile and less flammable when compared to petrol, diesel, and other highly flammable substances.
The flashpoint for kerosene is 100°F or 38°C. At this temperature, kerosene will combine with air or oxygen and ignite in the presence of a naked blaze, sparks, or other ignition sources.
Note that the flash point for kerosene can also fall between the range of 37°C to 65°C.
At What Temperature Does Kerosene Burn?
The moment kerosene is set on fire and exposed to air, it burns at about 990°C or 1814°F. Typically, this is an example of flame temperature (990°C) you’ll get when you burn kerosene either for cooking or as a motorcycle fuel.
On the other hand, kerosene will burn at a relatively higher and hotter temperature of about 2393°C or 3801°F in laboratories when it combines with sufficient oxygen. By “sufficient oxygen,” we mean the amount of oxygen necessary for the complete combustion of kerosene.
Uses Of Kerosene.
Oftentimes, kerosene is used as fuel for lamps and burners in most developing parts of the world. However, kerosene is more than just fuel in developed countries like Chile, Japan, America, the United Kingdom, and many more.
Kerosene is used as heating oil in Chile and Japan. In these countries, you can easily order kerosene or purchase it at a nearby gas station. Kerosene is also used as heating oil in the United Kingdom whenever liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is no longer in stock.
Kerosene has some uses in the entertainment industry. Entertainers use it as fuel for fire dancing and fire breathing. In chemical factories and laboratories, kerosene is employed to prepare certain chemicals.
Lastly, kerosene is an excellent solvent that dissolves some solutes easily. Owing to its solvent nature, kerosene is used to eliminate impurities like grease, oil paints, adhesives, wax, etc., on any surface.
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Can Kerosene Explode?
Under normal circumstances, kerosene is not explosive and is safer to use. This is because kerosene produces less carbon monoxide gas and is not extremely flammable, like petrol.
However, to ensure maximum safety while handling kerosene, you need to store the fuel properly. Keep kerosene away from all ignition sources and always store them in tightly covered containers.
Can You Light Kerosene On Fire?
Sure! You can light kerosene on fire to generate heat and light, although kerosene will not burn hastily like some remarkably flammable liquids. However, you can gradually light kerosene on fire by using a lighter or matches.
Is It Advisable To Start A Fire with Kerosene?
Kerosene will readily produce heat and start a campfire, cooking fire, or any other fire. It is unsafe to start a fire with kerosene. This is because burning kerosene can get out of control in no time and cause a lot of damage.
While you can start a fire with kerosene, some fire might withdraw back into the kerosene jar which might trigger a serious explosion. Thus, it is advisable to use kerosene for fire kindling rather than fire starting.
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Will Spilled Kerosene Dry Off?
Perhaps you’ve been wondering if spilled kerosene will evaporate just like spilled gas, then you’re at the right junction. Here, you will learn all you need to know about spilled kerosene.
So spilled kerosene will never dry off no matter how long you leave it exposed to air. If you mistakenly spill some kerosene on the floor, then you need to wipe the floor dry with a rag. This is the only way you can get rid of the horrible smell of kerosene.
Thus, quit daydreaming that spilled kerosene will evaporate with time. All you’ve got to do is clean up the spill to prevent a fire hazard.
Is Kerosene Flammable Than Gasoline?
Kerosene has a flash point (38°C) higher than gasoline, which is -40°C. Owing to this, gasoline burns faster and more vigorously than kerosene at room temperature. Hence, gasoline is far more flammable and dangerous to use when compared to kerosene.
Aerosolized gasoline burns at fairly the same rate as kerosene. But at room temperature, the outcome turns out the other way round.
When burnt together at this temperature, gasoline will burn rapidly and explode, while kerosene will burn at a slower rate.
We believe you’ve read to your fill. This guide spotlights everything you need to know about kerosene, its flammability, and its uses.
Kerosene produces flammable vapors and should be handled with care. Likewise, the fumes burning kerosene gives off might be toxic when you inhale them for a long time. Prolonged exposure to kerosene fumes can trigger headaches, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and many more.
Kerosene is by far more useful than most flammable liquids. Visit here to read more on the uses of kerosene.