Flash Point and Volatility

Jun 6, 2018

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

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