How Flammable Is Kerosene?

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Kerosene camper's lantern.

Kerosene is a highly combustible chemical used in lanterns, jet fuel and heaters. Hydrocarbon makes up most of the components of kerosene, similar to gasoline and ethanol. Unlike gasoline and ethanol, kerosene burns at a different rate and ignites at a different temperature.


Kerosene has a higher flash point compared to ethanol and gasoline. The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a chemical will ignite and burn. Engineering Tool Box places the flash point of kerosene between 100 to 162 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposing kerosene to any open flame or spark will cause it to ignite.


Crude oil is primarily the raw material that makes up kerosene and is extracted from coal, oil shale and wood. Kerosene is a mixture of water, rocks, oil and other contaminants extracted from porous layers of carbonate rock and sandstone. Since the flash point of kerosene is much higher that other engine fuels, it is commonly used for aircraft engines.


One of the characteristics of kerosene is that it burns completely off when ignited. Once kerosene is ignited, it burns away all liquids, like water evaporates. Very little remains of kerosene after the fire goes out. Kerosene is usually burned to dispose of it.


Since kerosene is a flammable chemical, a person burnt by this chemical must get treatment immediately. Several chemical manufacturers supply kerosene safety powder and foams for burns. The kerosene is washed away immediately with soap and water. Any clothing that still has remnants of kerosene is thrown away.


Mitchell Brock

Mitchell Brock has been writing since 1980. His work includes media relations and copywriting technical manuals for Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, FOX and Phillip Morris. Brock graduated from the University of Southern California in 1980, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English.