Flash Point and Volatility

Jan 27, 2021

Environmental Enlightenment #243

Generally, a flammable liquid means a liquid which may catch fire easily. Oil-based paints are flammable.

Gasoline is highly flammable

A flash is a sudden short blaze of intense light of flame. When something flashes, it bursts suddenly into flame.

The flash point of a flammable liquid is the lowest temperature where it will evaporate enough liquid to form an ignitable mixture in atmospheric air.

The flash point is an indication of how easy a chemical may burn. It is also an indication of how easy it will vaporize.

Materials with higher flash points are less flammable than chemicals with lower flash points.

Here are comparative flashpoints (in degrees Fahrenheit) for various liquids in open air (atmospheric pressure):

  Fuels:    
    Diesel fuels 100-130
    Ethyl (grain) alcohol 55
    Fuel oils 100-336
    Gasoline -45
    Jet fuel 100 degrees F
    Kerosene 100-162
    Propane -156
       
  Oils:    
    Corn oil 650
    Gear oil 375-580
    Mineral oil 370
    Motor oil 420-485
    Olive oil 437
    Paraffin oil 390
    Peanut oil 620
       
  Solvents:    
    Acetone 0
    Benzene 12
    Methyl (wood) alcohol 52
    Naphtha 106
    Toluene 40
    Xylene 63
       
  Rearranging the list by values of flashpoints also indicates the comparative volatilities of these substances:
    Propane -156
    Gasoline -45
    Acetone 0
    Benzene 12
    Toluene 40
    Methyl (wood) alcohol 52
    Ethyl (grain) alcohol 55
    Xylene 63
    Jet fuel 100 degrees F
    Naphtha 106
    Diesel fuels 100-130
    Fuel oils 100-336
    Kerosene 100-162
    Mineral oil 370
    Paraffin oil 390
    Gear oil 375-580
    Motor oil 420-485
    Olive oil 437
    Corn oil 650
    Peanut oil 620

In the USA, there is a precise definition of flammable liquid as one with a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Less-flammable liquids (with a flashpoint between 100 degrees and 200 degrees Fahrenheit) are defined as combustible liquids.

Acknowledgment:
Materials in this newsletter have been borrowed from these sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
http://www.thefreedictionary.com
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/flash-point-fuels-d_937.html

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Ecosystems

Ecosystems

Environmental Enlightenment #220 — An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with nonliving components.