The autoignition temperature
or kindling point
of a substance is the lowest temperature at which it will spontaneously ignite
Spontaneous combustion is the self-ignition of a mass, for example, a pile of oily rags. Allegedly, humans can also ignite and burn without an obvious cause; this phenomenon is known as spontaneous human combustion....
in a normal atmosphere without an external source of ignition, such as a flame or spark. This temperature is required to supply the activation energy
In chemistry, activation energy is a term introduced in 1889 by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius that is defined as the energy that must be overcome in order for a chemical reaction to occur. Activation energy may also be defined as the minimum energy required to start a chemical reaction...
needed for combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...
. The temperature at which a chemical will ignite decreases as the pressure increases or oxygen concentration increases. It is usually applied to a combustible fuel mixture.
Autoignition temperatures of liquid chemicals are typically measured using a 500 mL flask placed in a temperature controlled oven in accordance with the procedure described in ASTM E659.
it takes for a material to reach its autoignition temperature
when exposed to a heat flux
Heat flux or thermal flux is the rate of heat energy transfer through a given surface. The SI derived unit of heat rate is joule per second, or watt. Heat flux is the heat rate per unit area. In SI units, heat flux is measured in W/m2]. Heat rate is a scalar quantity, while heat flux is a vectorial...
is given by the following equation
= thermal conductivity (W/(m·K)), ρ
= density (kg/m³), and c
= specific heat capacity (J/(kg·K)) of the material of interest.
is the temperature, in kelvins, the material starts at (or the temperature of the bulk material), and
is the heat flux (W/m²) incident to the material.
To be consistent in units the group
should be squared.
Autoignition point of selected substances
Temperatures vary widely in the literature and should only be used as estimates. Factors which may cause variation include partial pressure
In a mixture of ideal gases, each gas has a partial pressure which is the pressure which the gas would have if it alone occupied the volume. The total pressure of a gas mixture is the sum of the partial pressures of each individual gas in the mixture....
of oxygen, altitude, humidity, and amount of time required for ignition.
Triethylborane , also called triethylborine and triethylboron, is an organoborane , a near-colorless to yellowish transparent liquid with pungent ether-like odor. Its chemical formula can be written as C6H15B, or 3B, or 3B, or Et3B.Triethylborane is strongly pyrophoric, igniting spontaneously in...
: -20 °C
Silane is a toxic, extremely flammable chemical compound with chemical formula SiH4. In 1857, the German chemists and Friedrich Woehler discovered silane among the products formed by the action of hydrochloric acid on aluminum silicide, which they had previously prepared...
: <21 °C (69.8 °F)
- White phosphorus: 34 °C (93.2 °F)
- Carbon disulfide
Carbon disulfide is a colorless volatile liquid with the formula CS2. The compound is used frequently as a building block in organic chemistry as well as an industrial and chemical non-polar solvent...
: 90 °C (194 °F)
- Diethyl ether
Diethyl ether, also known as ethyl ether, simply ether, or ethoxyethane, is an organic compound in the ether class with the formula . It is a colorless, highly volatile flammable liquid with a characteristic odor...
: 160 °C (320 °F)
- Diesel or Jet A-1
Jet fuel is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. It is clear to straw-colored in appearance. The most commonly used fuels for commercial aviation are Jet A and Jet A-1 which are produced to a standardized international specification...
: 210 °C (410 °F)
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...
(Petrol): 246–280 °C (474.8–536 F)
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...
: 405 °C (761 °F)
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....
: 450 °C (842 °F) or 218°-246°C (424-474°F)
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...
: 473 °C (883.4 °F)
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...
: 536 °C (996.8 °F)
For paper, there is considerable variation between sources. Part of this is because it takes longer for combustion to start at lower temperatures.
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures without the participation of oxygen. It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible...
- Flash Point
The flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air. Measuring a flash point requires an ignition source...
- Gas burner
A gas burner is a device to generate a flame to heat up products using a gaseous fuel such as acetylene, natural gas or propane. Some burners have an air inlet to mix the fuel gas with air to make a complete combustion...
(For flame temperatures, combustion heat energy values and ignition temperatures)