The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Kerosene or paraffin (not the waxy solid of that name) is a colorless flammable hydrocarbon liquid. It is obtained from the fractional distillation of petroleum at 150C and 275C (carbon chains from the to C15 range). At one time it was widely used in kerosene lamps but it is now mainly used as a fuel for jet engines (more technically Avtur, Jet-A, Jet-B, JP-4 or JP-8). A form of kerosene known as RP-1 is burned with liquid oxygen as rocket fuel. The name kerosene is derived from the Greek word keros (κερωσ, wax).

Typically, kerosene directly distilled from crude oil requires some treatment, either in a Merox unit or a hydrotreater , to reduce its sulfur content and its corrosiveness. Kerosene can also be produced by a hydrocracker, which is used to upgrade the parts of crude oil that would otherwise only be good for fuel oil.

Its use as a cooking fuel is mostly restricted to less developed countries, where it is usually less refined and contains impurities and even debris.

Jet engine fuel is kerosene that meets more stringent specifications, particularly the smoke point and the freeze point.

Common names

Last updated: 06-02-2005 05:45:30
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12