Kerosene

Kerosene

Overview
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, is a combustible hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros (κηρός wax
Wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

). The word "Kerosene" was registered as a trademark by Abraham Gesner in 1854, and for several years, only the North American Gas Light Company and the Downer Company (to which Gesner had granted the right) were allowed to call their lamp oil "Kerosene".
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Encyclopedia
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, is a combustible hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros (κηρός wax
Wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

). The word "Kerosene" was registered as a trademark by Abraham Gesner in 1854, and for several years, only the North American Gas Light Company and the Downer Company (to which Gesner had granted the right) were allowed to call their lamp oil "Kerosene". It eventually became a genericized trademark
Genericized trademark
A genericized trademark is a trademark or brand name that has become the colloquial or generic description for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, rather than as an indicator of source or affiliation as intended by the trademark's holder...

.

In the United Kingdom, two grades of heating oil use this name - premium kerosene (more commonly known in the UK as paraffin) BS2869 Class C1, the lightest grade, which is usually used for lanterns, wick heaters, and combustion engines; and standard kerosene BS2869 Class C2, a heavier distillate, which is used as domestic heating oil. Premium Kerosene is usually sold in 5 or 20 litre containers from hardware, camping and garden stores and is often dyed purple. Standard kerosene is usually dispensed in bulk by a tanker and is colourless.

Kerosene is usually called paraffin (sometimes paraffin oil) in Southeast Asia and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 (not to be confused with the much more viscous paraffin oil used as a laxative, or the waxy solid also called paraffin wax or just paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

); variants of petroleum in parts of Central Europe (not to be confused with crude oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 to which it refers in English); the term "kerosene" is usual in much of Canada, the United States, Australia (where it is usually referred to colloquially as "kero") and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

.

Kerosene is widely used to power jet-engined
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

 aircraft (jet fuel
Jet fuel
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...

) and some rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s, but is also commonly used as a heating fuel and for fire toys such as poi. In parts of Asia, where the price of kerosene is subsidized, it fuels outboard motors rigged on small fishing craft.

Kerosene is typically (and in some jurisdictions legally required to be) stored in a blue container to avoid its getting confused with the much more flammable gasoline
Gasoline
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...

, which is typically kept in a red container. Diesel fuel is generally stored in yellow containers for the same reason.

Properties


Kerosene, a thin, clear liquid formed from hydrocarbons, with a density
Density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 of 0.78–0.81 g/cm3, is obtained from the fractional distillation
Fractional distillation
Fractional distillation is the separation of a mixture into its component parts, or fractions, such as in separating chemical compounds by their boiling point by heating them to a temperature at which several fractions of the compound will evaporate. It is a special type of distillation...

 of petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 between 150 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 and 275 °C, resulting in a mixture of carbon chains that typically contain between six and 16 carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s per molecule
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

.

The flash point
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...

 of kerosene is between 37 and 65 °C (100 and 150 °F), and its autoignition temperature
Autoignition temperature
The autoignition temperature or kindling point of a substance is the lowest temperature at which it will spontaneously ignite 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 needed for combustion...

 is 220 °C (428 °F).

Heat of combustion
Heat of combustion
The heat of combustion is the energy released as heat when a compound undergoes complete combustion with oxygen under standard conditions. The chemical reaction is typically a hydrocarbon reacting with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, water and heat...

 of kerosene is similar to that of diesel; its lower heating value is around 18,500 Btu
British thermal unit
The British thermal unit is a traditional unit of energy equal to about 1055 joules. It is approximately the amount of energy needed to heat of water, which is exactly one tenth of a UK gallon or about 0.1198 US gallons, from 39°F to 40°F...

/lb
Pound (mass)
The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass used in the Imperial, United States customary and other systems of measurement...

, or 43.1 MJ/kg
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

, and its higher heating value is 46.2 MJ/kg.

Kerosene is immiscible
Miscibility
Miscibility is the property of liquids to mix in all proportions, forming a homogeneous solution. In principle, the term applies also to other phases , but the main focus is usually on the solubility of one liquid in another...

 in water (cold or hot), but miscible in petroleum solvents.

History


The process of distilling crude oil/petroleum into kerosene, as well as other hydrocarbon compounds, was first written about in the 9th century by the Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 scholar Rāzi (or Rhazes). In his Kitab al-Asrar (Book of Secrets), the physician and chemist Razi described two methods for the production of kerosene, termed naft abyad ("white naphtha"), using an apparatus called an alembic
Alembic
An alembic is an alchemical still consisting of two vessels connected by a tube...

. One method involved using clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 as an absorbent, whereas the other method involved using ammonium chloride
Ammonium chloride
Ammonium chloride NH4Cl is an inorganic compound with the formula NH4Cl. It is a white crystalline salt that is highly soluble in water. Solutions of ammonium chloride are mildly acidic. Sal ammoniac is a name of natural, mineralogical form of ammonium chloride...

 (sal ammoniac). The distillation process was to be repeated until the final product was perfectly clear and "safe to light", i.e. volatile hydrocarbon fractions had been mostly removed. Kerosene was also produced during the same period from oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

 and bitumen by heating the rock to extract the oil, which was then distilled.

In 1846, Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner gave a public demonstration in Charlottetown
Charlottetown
Charlottetown is a Canadian city. It is both the largest city on and the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, and the county seat of Queens County. Named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, Charlottetown was first incorporated as a town in 1855 and designated as a city in 1885...

, Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 of a new process he had discovered. He heated coal in a retort
Retort
In a chemistry laboratory, a retort is a glassware device used for distillation or dry distillation of substances. It consists of a spherical vessel with a long downward-pointing neck. The liquid to be distilled is placed in the vessel and heated...

 and distilled from it a clear, thin fluid which he showed made an excellent lamp fuel. He coined the name "Kerosene" for his fuel, a contraction of keroselaion, meaning wax-oil. The cost of extracting kerosene from coal was high. Fortunately, Gesner recalled from his extensive knowledge of New Brunswick's geology a naturally occurring asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

um called albertite
Albertite
Albertite is a type of asphalt found in Albert County, New Brunswick. It is a type of solid hydrocarbon.It is a deep black and lustrous variety, and is less soluble in turpentine than the usual type of asphalt. It was from Albertite that kerosene was first refined...

. He was blocked from using it by the New Brunswick coal conglomerate because they had coal extraction rights for the province, and he lost a court case when their experts claimed albertite was a form of coal. Gesner subsequently moved to Newtown Creek
Newtown Creek
Newtown Creek is a estuary that forms part of the border between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, in New York City, New York, United States. It derives its name from New Town , which was the name for the Dutch and British settlement in what is now Elmhurst, Queens...

, Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

, New York, in 1854, where he secured the backing of a group of businessmen. They formed the North American Gas Light Company, to which he assigned his patents. Despite clear priority of discovery, Gesner did not obtain his first kerosene patent until 1854, two years after James Young's US patent. Gesner's method of purifying the distillation products appears to have been superior to Young's, resulting in a cleaner and better-smelling fuel. Manufacture of kerosene under the Gesner patents began in New York in 1854, and later in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, being distilled from bituminous coal
Bituminous coal
Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

 and oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

.

In 1848, Scottish chemist James Young experimented with oil discovered seeping in a coal mine as a source of lubricating oil and illuminating fuel. When the seep became exhausted, he experimented with the dry distillation of coal, especially the resinous "boghead coal" (torbanite
Torbanite
Torbanite, also known as boghead coal, is a variety of fine-grained black oil shale. It usually occurs as lenticular masses, often associated with deposits of Permian coals. Torbanite is classified as lacustrine type oil shale....

). He extracted a number of useful liquids from it, one of which he named "paraffine oil", because at low temperatures, it congealed into a substance resembling paraffin wax. Young took out a patent on his process and the resulting products in 1850, and built the first truly commercial oil-works in the world at Bathgate
Bathgate
Bathgate is a town in West Lothian, Scotland, on the M8 motorway west of Livingston. Nearby towns are Blackburn, Armadale, Whitburn, Livingston, and Linlithgow. Edinburgh Airport is away...

 in 1851, using oil extracted from locally mined torbanite, shale, and bituminous coal. In 1852, he took out a US patent for the same invention. These patents were subsequently upheld in both countries in a series of lawsuits, and other producers were obliged to pay him royalties. See also coal oil
Coal oil
Coal oil is a term once used for a specific shale oil used for illuminating purposes. Coal oil is obtained from the destructive distillation of cannel coal, mineral wax, and bituminous shale, while kerosene is obtained by the distillation of petroleum...

.

In 1851, Samuel Martin Kier
Samuel Martin Kier
Samuel Martin Kier was an American inventor and businessman who is credited with founding the American petroleum refining industry. He was the first person in the United States to refine crude oil into lamp oil...

 began selling kerosene to local miners, under the name "Carbon Oil". He distilled this by a process of his own invention from crude oil. He also invented a new lamp to burn his product. He has been dubbed the Grandfather of the American Oil Industry by historians. Since the 1840s, Kier's salt well
Salt well
A salt well is used to mine salt from subterranean caverns or deposits by the use of water as a solution to dissolve the salt or halite deposits so that they can be extracted by pipe to an evaporation process that results in a brine or dry product for sale or use...

s were becoming fouled with petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

. At first, Kier simply dumped the useless oil into the nearby Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, but later he began experimenting with several distillates of the crude oil, along with a chemist from eastern Pennsylvania.

Ignacy Łukasiewicz, a Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 pharmacist residing in Lvov, had been experimenting with different kerosene distillation techniques, trying to improve on Gesner's process, using local seep
Seep
A petroleum seep is a place where natural liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons escape to the earth's atmosphere and surface, normally under low pressure or flow. Seeps generally occur above either terrestrial or offshore petroleum accumulation structures...

 oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

. Many people knew of his work, but paid little attention to it. On the night of July 31, 1853, doctors at the local hospital needed to perform an emergency operation, virtually impossible by candlelight. They therefore sent a messenger for Lukasiewicz and his new lamps. The lamp burned so brightly and cleanly that the hospital officials ordered several lamps plus a large supply of fuel. Łukasiewicz realized the potential of his work and quit the pharmacy to find a business partner, and then travelled to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 to register his technique with the government. Łukasiewicz moved to the Gorlice
Gorlice
Gorlice is a city and an urban municipality in south eastern Poland with around 29,500 inhabitants . It is situated south east of Kraków and south of Tarnów between Jasło and Nowy Sącz in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship , previously in Nowy Sącz Voivodeship...

 region of Poland in 1854, and sank several wells across southern Poland over the following decade, setting up a refinery near Jasło in 1859.

The widespread availability of cheaper kerosene was the principal factor in the precipitous decline in the whaling
Whaling
Whaling is the hunting of whales mainly for meat and oil. Its earliest forms date to at least 3000 BC. Various coastal communities have long histories of sustenance whaling and harvesting beached whales...

 industry in the mid-to-late 19th century, as the leading product of whaling was oil for lamps.

Heating and lighting



At one time, the fuel was widely used in kerosene lamp
Kerosene lamp
The kerosene lamp is a type of lighting device that uses kerosene as a fuel. This article refers to kerosene lamps that have a wick and a tall glass chimney. Kerosene lanterns that have a wick and a glass globe are related to kerosene lamps and are included here as well...

s and lanterns. Although it replaced whale oil
Whale oil
Whale oil is the oil obtained from the blubber of various species of whales, particularly the three species of right whale and the bowhead whale prior to the modern era, as well as several other species of baleen whale...

, the 1873 edition of Elements of Chemistry said, "The vapor of this substance [kerosene] mixed with air is as explosive as gunpowder." This may have been due to the common practice of adulterating kerosene with other, more volatile hydrocarbons, such as the cheaper benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

. Kerosene was also a fire risk; in 1880, nearly two of every five New York City fires were caused by defective kerosene lamps.

These were superseded by the electric light bulb and flashlight
Flashlight
A flashlight is a hand-held electric-powered light source. Usually the light source is a small incandescent lightbulb or light-emitting diode...

s powered by dry cell
Dry Cell
-Dry Cell's formation:Part of the band formed in 1998 when guitarist Danny Hartwell and drummer Brandon Brown met at the Ratt Show on the Sunset Strip. They later met up with then-vocalist Judd Gruenbaum. The original name of the band was "Beyond Control"....

 batteries, which are still used to this day.

Its use as a cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

 fuel is mostly restricted to some portable stove
Portable stove
A portable stove is a cooking stove specially designed to be portable and lightweight, as for camping or picnicking, or for use in remote locations where an easily transportable means of cooking or heating is needed...

s for backpackers
Backpacking (wilderness)
Backpacking combines the activities of hiking and camping for an overnight stay in backcountry wilderness...

 and to less-developed countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

, where it is usually less refined and contains impurities and even debris.

As a heating fuel, it is often used in portable stoves, and is sold in some filling station
Filling station
A filling station, also known as a fueling station, garage, gasbar , gas station , petrol bunk , petrol pump , petrol garage, petrol kiosk , petrol station "'servo"' in Australia or service station, is a facility which sells fuel and lubricants...

s. It is sometimes used as a heat source during power failures. The use of portable kerosene heaters is not recommended for closed indoor areas without a chimney
Chimney
A chimney is a structure for venting hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the...

 due to the danger of buildup of carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

 gas.
Kerosene is widely used in Japan as a home heating fuel for portable and installed kerosene heaters. In Japan, kerosene can be readily bought at any filling station or be delivered to homes.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, kerosene is often used as a heating fuel in areas not connected to a gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 pipeline network. It is used less for cooking, which has more commonly been LPG for some decades now, owing to its (LPG's) easier lighting. Kerosene is still often the fuel of choice for range cookers such as Rayburn.

The Amish
Amish
The Amish , sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches...

, who abstain from the use of electricity, rely on kerosene for lighting at night.

More ubiquitous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, kerosene space heaters
Kerosene heater
A kerosene heater, also known as a paraffin heater, is a portable, unvented, kerosene-fueled, space-heating device. In the United States they are used mainly for supplemental heat or as a source of emergency heat during a power outage. In some countries, particularly in Japan, they are used as...

 were often built into kitchen ranges, and kept many farm and fishing families warm and dry through the winter. At one time, citrus growers used a smudge pot
Smudge pot
A smudge pot is an oil-burning device used to prevent frost on fruit trees. Condensation of water vapor on particulate soot prevents condensation on plants and raises air temperature very slightly. Usually a smudge pot has a large round base with a chimney coming out of the middle of the base...

 fueled by kerosene to create a pall of thick smoke over a grove in an effort to prevent freezing temperatures from damaging crops. "Salamanders
Salamander heater
A salamander heater is any of a variety of portable forced-air or convection heaters, often kerosene-fueled, used in ventilated areas for worksite comfort. Salamander heaters are most often found at construction sites. Depending on style, they can also be referred to as "torpedo furnaces",...

" are kerosene space heaters used on construction sites to dry out building materials and to warm workers. Before the days of blinking electrically lighted road barriers, highway construction zones were marked at night by kerosene fired, pot-bellied torches. Most of these uses of kerosene created thick black smoke because of the low temperature of combustion.

A notable exception, discovered in the early 19th century, is the use of a gas mantle
Gas mantle
An incandescent gas mantle, gas mantle, or Welsbach mantle is a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. The name refers to its original heat source, existing gas lights, which filled the streets of Europe and North America in the late 19th century, mantle referring to the...

 above the wick on a kerosene lamp. Looking like a delicate woven bag above the woven cotton wick, the mantle is a residue of mineral materials (mostly thorium dioxide
Thorium dioxide
Thorium dioxide , also called thorium oxide is a white, crystalline powder. It was formerly known as thoria or thorina. It is produced mainly as a by-product of lanthanide and uranium production.[1]...

) which is heated to incandescence
Incandescence
Incandescence is the emission of light from a hot body as a result of its temperature. The term derives from the Latin verb incandescere, to glow white....

 by the flame produced by the wick. The thorium
Thorium
Thorium is a natural radioactive chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90. It was discovered in 1828 and named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder....

 and cerium
Cerium
Cerium is a chemical element with the symbol Ce and atomic number 58. It is a soft, silvery, ductile metal which easily oxidizes in air. Cerium was named after the dwarf planet . Cerium is the most abundant of the rare earth elements, making up about 0.0046% of the Earth's crust by weight...

 oxide combination produces both a whiter light and a greater fraction of the energy in the form of visible light than a black body
Black body
A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation. Because of this perfect absorptivity at all wavelengths, a black body is also the best possible emitter of thermal radiation, which it radiates incandescently in a characteristic, continuous spectrum...

 at the same temperature would. These types of lamps are still in use today in areas of the world without electricity, because they give a much better light than a simple wick-type lamp does.

Transportation


In the mid-20th century, kerosene or tractor vaporising oil
Tractor vaporising oil
Tractor vaporising oil is a fuel for internal combustion engines, produced from paraffin . In the United Kingdom and Australia, after the Second World War, it was commonly used for tractors until diesel engines became commonplace...

 (TVO) was used as a cheap fuel for tractors. The engine would start on gasoline, then switch over to kerosene once the engine warmed up. A heat valve on the manifold would route the exhaust gases around the intake pipe, heating the kerosene to the point where it was vaporized and could be ignited by an electric spark
Electric spark
An electric spark is a type of electrostatic discharge that occurs when an electric field creates an ionized electrically conductive channel in air producing a brief emission of light and sound. A spark is formed when the electric field strength exceeds the dielectric field strength of air...

.

In Europe following the Second World War, automobiles were modified similarly to turn to run on kerosene from the gasoline which would have to be imported and was heavily taxed. Besides additional piping and the switch between fuels, the head gasket was replaced by a much thicker one to diminish the compression ratio (making the engine less powerful and less efficient, but able to run on kerosene). The necessary equipment was sold under the trademark "Econom".

During the fuel crisis of the 1970s, Saab-Valmet developed and series-produced the Saab 99
Saab 99
- Development :On April 2, 1965, Gudmund's day in Sweden, after several years of planning, the Saab board started Project Gudmund. This was a project to develop a new and larger car to take the manufacturer beyond the market for the smaller Saab 96...

 Petro that ran on kerosene, turpentine
Turpentine
Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene...

 or gasoline. The project, codenamed "Project Lapponia", was headed by Simo Vuorinen, and towards the end of the 1970s, a working prototype was produced based on the Saab 99GL. The car was designed to run on two fuels. Gasoline was used for cold starts and when extra power was needed, but normally it ran on kerosene or turpentine. The idea was that the gasoline could be made from peat using the Fischer-Tropsch process
Fischer-Tropsch process
The Fischer–Tropsch process is a set of chemical reactions that convert a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. The process, a key component of gas to liquids technology, produces a petroleum substitute, typically from coal, natural gas, or biomass for use as synthetic...

. Between 1980 and 1984, 3756 Saab 99 Petros and 2385 Talbot Horizons (a version of the Chrysler Horizon that integrated many Saab components) were made.

Kerosene is used to fuel smaller-horsepower outboard motors built by Yamaha Motors, Suzuki Marine, and Tohatsu. Primarily used on small fishing craft, these are dual-fuel engines that start on gasoline and then transition to kerosene once the engine reaches optimum operating temperature. Multiple fuel Evinrude and Mercury Racing engines also burn kerosene, as well as jet fuel.

Today, kerosene is mainly used in fuel for jet engines
Jet fuel
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...

 (more technically Avtur, Jet A and Jet A-1, Jet B, JP-4
JP-4
JP-4, or JP4 was a jet fuel, specified in 1951 by the U.S. government . It was a 50-50 kerosene-gasoline blend. It has lower flash point than JP-1, but was preferred because of its greater availability. It was the primary U.S. Air Force jet fuel between 1951 and 1995. Its NATO code is F-40...

, JP-5
JP-5
JP-5 or JP5 is a yellow, kerosene-based jet fuel developed in 1952 for use in aircraft stationed aboard aircraft carriers, where the risk from fire is particularly great. JP-5 is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, containing alkanes, naphthenes, and aromatic hydrocarbons that weighs and has a...

, JP-7
JP-7
JP-7 is a jet fuel developed by the U.S. Air Force for use in supersonic aircraft because of its high flash point and thermal stability. It is the fuel used in the Pratt & Whitney J58 engines, used in the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The air compression of Mach 3+ cruising flight generates very high...

 or JP-8
JP-8
JP-8, or JP8 is a jet fuel, specified and used widely by the US military. It is specified by MIL-DTL-83133 and British Defence Standard 91-87, and similar to commercial aviation's Jet-A....

). One form of the fuel known as RP-1
RP-1
RP-1 is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel, used as a rocket fuel. Although having a lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen , RP-1 is cheaper, can be stored at room temperature, is far less of an explosive hazard and is far denser...

 is burned with liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen — abbreviated LOx, LOX or Lox in the aerospace, submarine and gas industries — is one of the physical forms of elemental oxygen.-Physical properties:...

 as rocket fuel. These fuel grade kerosenes meet specifications for smoke point
Smoke point
The smoke point generally refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids, and produce bluish smoke. The glycerol is then further broken down to acrolein which is a component of the smoke. It is the presence of the acrolein that causes...

s and freeze points. The combustion reaction can be approximated as follows, with the molecular formula C12H26 (dodecane
Dodecane
Dodecane is a liquid alkane hydrocarbon with the chemical formula CH310CH3 , an oily liquid of the paraffin series. It has 355 isomers....

):

C12H26(l) + 37/2 O2(g) → 12 CO2(g) + 13 H2O(g); H˚
Enthalpy
Enthalpy is a measure of the total energy of a thermodynamic system. It includes the internal energy, which is the energy required to create a system, and the amount of energy required to make room for it by displacing its environment and establishing its volume and pressure.Enthalpy is a...

 = -7513 kJ
Joule
The joule ; symbol J) is a derived unit of energy or work in the International System of Units. It is equal to the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre , or in passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second...



In the initial phase of liftoff, the Saturn V
Saturn V
The Saturn V was an American human-rated expendable rocket used by NASA's Apollo and Skylab programs from 1967 until 1973. A multistage liquid-fueled launch vehicle, NASA launched 13 Saturn Vs from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida with no loss of crew or payload...

 launch vehicle was powered by the reaction of liquid oxygen with RP-1. For the five 6.4 meganewton sea-level thrust F-1
F-1 (rocket engine)
The F-1 is a rocket engine developed by Rocketdyne and used in the Saturn V. Five F-1 engines were used in the S-IC first stage of each Saturn V, which served as the main launch vehicle in the Apollo program. The F-1 is still the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever...

 rocket engines of the Saturn V, burning together, the reaction generated roughly 1.62 × 1011 watt
Watt
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

s (J/s) (162 gigawatt) or 217 million horsepower.

Kerosene is sometimes used as an additive in diesel fuel to prevent gelling or waxing in cold temperatures.

Ultra-low sulfur kerosene is a custom-blended fuel used by the New York City Transit to power its bus fleet. The transit agency started using this fuel in 2004, prior to the widespread adoption of ultra-low sulfur diesel
Ultra-low sulfur diesel
Ultra-low-sulfur diesel is a term used to describe diesel fuel with substantially lowered sulfur content...

, which has since become the standard. In 2008, the suppliers of the custom fuel failed to tender for a renewal of the transit agency's contract, leading to a negotiated contract at a significantly increased cost.

Cooking


In countries such as India, kerosene is the main fuel used for cooking, especially by the poor, and kerosene stoves have replaced traditional wood-based cooking appliances. As such, increase in the price of kerosene can have a major political and environmental consequence. The Indian government subsidizes the fuel to keep the price very low, to around 15 cents per liter as of February 2007, as lower prices discourage dismantling of forests for cooking fuel.

Kerosene is used as a fuel in portable stove
Portable stove
A portable stove is a cooking stove specially designed to be portable and lightweight, as for camping or picnicking, or for use in remote locations where an easily transportable means of cooking or heating is needed...

s, especially in Primus stove
Primus stove
The Primus stove, the first pressurized-burner kerosene stove, was developed in 1892 by Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist, a factory mechanic in Stockholm, Sweden. The stove was based on the design of the hand-held blowtorch; Lindqvist’s patent covered the burner, which was turned upward on the stove...

s invented in 1892. Portable kerosene stoves earn a reputation of reliable and durable stove in everyday use, and perform especially well under adverse conditions. In outdoor activities and mountainering, a decisive advantage of pressurized kerosene stoves over gas cartridge stoves is their particularly high thermal output and their ability to operate at very low temperature in winter or at high altitude.

Entertainment


Kerosene is often used in the entertainment industry for fire performances, such as fire breathing
Fire breathing
Fire breathing is the act of creating a fireball by breathing a fine mist of fuel over an open flame. Proper technique and the correct fuel create the illusion of danger to enhance the novelty of fire breathing, while reducing the risk to health and safety...

, fire juggling or poi
Poi (juggling)
Poi refers to both a style of performance art and the equipment used for engaging in poi performance. As a performance art, poi involves swinging tethered weights through a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns. Poi artists may also sing or dance while swinging their poi...

, and fire dancing
Fire dancing
Fire dancing is a group of performance arts or disciplines that involve manipulation of objects on fire...

. Because of its low flame temperature when burnt in free air, the risk is lower should the performer come in contact with the flame. Kerosene is not usually used as fuel for indoor fire dancing, as it produces an unpleasant odor, which becomes poisonous in sufficient concentration. Methanol
Methanol
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

 was sometimes used instead, but the flames it produces look less impressive, and its lower flash point
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...

 poses a high risk. Moreover, methanol is highly toxic for the optic nerve
Optic nerve
The optic nerve, also called cranial nerve 2, transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Derived from the embryonic retinal ganglion cell, a diverticulum located in the diencephalon, the optic nerve doesn't regenerate after transection.-Anatomy:The optic nerve is the second of...

s, and can cause blindness
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 when swallowed.

Other uses



  • Liquid pesticides have traditionally used kerosene or some other petroleum distillate as a carrier, though water has recently begun to replace kerosene.
  • Kerosene has also been found effective in killing bed bugs upon direct spray.
  • Kerosene has been used to treat pools of standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, notably in the yellow fever
    Yellow fever
    Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

     outbreak of 1905 in New Orleans.
  • It can be used to remove lice
    Head louse
    The head louse is an obligate ectoparasite of humans. Head lice are wingless insects spending their entire life on human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood...

     from hair, but this practice is painful and potentially very dangerous. Also, this practice removes all natural oils and fats from the scalp.
  • Since kerosene is chemically stable, it is used to store substances with redox
    Redox
    Redox reactions describe all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed....

     tendencies within to prevent unwanted reactions, such as alkali metal
    Alkali metal
    The alkali metals are a series of chemical elements in the periodic table. In the modern IUPAC nomenclature, the alkali metals comprise the group 1 elements, along with hydrogen. The alkali metals are lithium , sodium , potassium , rubidium , caesium , and francium...

    s.
  • In X-ray crystallography
    X-ray crystallography
    X-ray crystallography is a method of determining the arrangement of atoms within a crystal, in which a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal and causes the beam of light to spread into many specific directions. From the angles and intensities of these diffracted beams, a crystallographer can produce a...

    , kerosene can be used to store crystals. When a hydrated crystal is left in air, dehydration
    Dehydration
    In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

     may occur slowly. This makes the colour of the crystal become dull. Kerosene can keep air from the crystal.
  • It is sometimes used as a solvent
    Solvent
    A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

    .
    • Kerosene can be applied topically to hard-to-remove mucilage or adhesive left by stickers on a glass surface (such as in show windows of stores).
    • Kerosene can be used to remove candle wax that has dripped onto a glass surface; the excess wax should be scraped off prior to applying kerosene via a soaked cloth or tissue paper.
    • Kerosene can be used to clean bicycle and motorcycle chains of old lubricant before relubrication.
  • It can be used in conjunction with cutting oil as a thread cutting and reaming lubricant
    Lubricant
    A lubricant is a substance introduced to reduce friction between moving surfaces. It may also have the function of transporting foreign particles and of distributing heat...

    . When machining aluminium and its alloys, kerosene on its own is an excellent cutting lubricant.
  • In military applications, kerosene is a primary component in the explosive ANFO
    ANFO
    ANFO is a widely used bulk industrial explosive mixture. It consists of 94 percent porous prilled ammonium nitrate , that acts as the oxidizing agent and absorbent for the fuel — six percent Number 2 Fuel Oil...

    , which also has widespread use in the mining and agricultural industries.
  • Kerosene-based diluent
    Diluent
    A diluent is a diluting agent.Certain fluids are too viscous to be pumped easily or too dense to flow from one particular point to the other. This can be problematic, because it might not be economically feasible to transport such fluids in this state.To ease this restricted movement, diluents...

     is commonly used as a component of the organic solvent in SX/EW copper
    Copper
    Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

     refining.
  • Hydrotreated kerosene can be used as a starting material to produce high-purity, linear paraffins, which are subsequently dehydrogenated to linear olefins, and when the latter are reacted with benzene in the presence of a catalyst, the result is linear alkyl benzene
    Linear alkyl benzene
    Linear alkylbenzene is a family of organic compounds with the formula C6H5CnH2n+1. Typically, n lies between 10 and 16, although generally supplied as a tighter cut, such as C12-C15, C12-C13 and C10-C13, for detergent use. The CnH2n+1 chain is unbranched. They are sometimes called LAB's. They are...

    .
  • Kerosene is used as a lubricant for glass cutting. It prevents chipping of the glass as the cutting tool is drawn along the surface, and it prevents the surface of the glass from resealing along the scored line, which would cause an uneven and jagged cut.
  • Kerosene was used in lava lamps from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

Toxicity


Ingestion
Ingestion
Ingestion is the consumption of a substance by an organism. In animals, it normally is accomplished by taking in the substance through the mouth into the gastrointestinal tract, such as through eating or drinking...

 of kerosene is harmful or fatal. Kerosene should never be used to get rid of hair lice as it can cause burns and serious illness. A kerosene shampoo can even be fatal if fumes are inhaled.

United States


In 2008, the cost of kerosene was $39.92 per million BTUs ($37.84/GJ) for heating.

See also

  • Aviation fuel
    Aviation fuel
    Aviation fuel is a specialized type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircraft. It is generally of a higher quality than fuels used in less critical applications, such as heating or road transport, and often contains additives to reduce the risk of icing or explosion due to high temperatures,...

  • Gasoline gallon equivalent
  • Tractor vaporising oil
    Tractor vaporising oil
    Tractor vaporising oil is a fuel for internal combustion engines, produced from paraffin . In the United Kingdom and Australia, after the Second World War, it was commonly used for tractors until diesel engines became commonplace...

  • List of CO2 emitted per million Btu of energy from various fuels

External links