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Kerosene or paraffin is a colourless, thin, flammable liquid. A hydrocarbon mix, it is obtained from the fractional distillation of petroleum at 150C and 275C (the C12 to C15 range). At one time it was widely used in lamps but is now mainly used as a fuel for jet engines.

Typically kerosene directly distilled from crude oil requires some treatment, either in a [[Merox] unit or a Hydrotreater, so reduce its sulphur content and its corrosivity. These days kerosene can also partly come from a Hydrocracker, which is used to upgrade the parts of crude oil that would otherwise only be good for fuel oil.

Its use 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, also called avtur, (Aviation Turbine Fuel), is kerosene that meets more stringent specifications, in particular the smoke point and the freeze point.

Kerosene is also used in various types of lamp: see kerosene lamp.

Abraham Pineo Gesner (1797-1864) named it in 1854 from the Greek word keros (wax).

It is called kerosene in the United States and Australia, and paraffin in the United Kingdom and South Africa. It is also sometimes called kerosine or coal oil.

See also

Kerosene (disambig)