Kerosene also spelt kerosine is known by many names, including Burning Oil, 28 Second Oil, Paraffin or C2 Kero. It is a flammable hydrocarbon liquid commonly used as fuel.
Typically, pale yellow or colourless it often has a dye added to distinguish it from other fuels, such as gas oil or DERV. This low-viscosity oil is used to heat homes, farms, business premises and power industrial machinery.
Discovered by Canadian physician Abraham Gesner in the late 1840s, kerosene was initially manufactured from coal tar and shale oil. Since 1859, kerosene has been extracted from petroleum, natural oil that is drilled out of the ground and refined into several fuels through a process called fractional distillation.
Chemically, kerosene is a mixture of hydrocarbons. The chemical composition depends on its source, but it usually consists of around 10 different hydrocarbons, each containing 10 to 16 carbon atoms per molecule. Its main constituents are saturated straight-chain, branched-chain paraffin, and ring-shaped cycloparaffins (naphthene’s).
The flash point of kerosene is 38 °C or higher, this makes it a relatively safe fuel to store and handle.
With a boiling point between 150 °C and 300 °C, Kerosene is a middle distillation of crude oil.