Introduction to Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly, also known as Vaseline and Petrolatum jelly, is a mixture of semi-solid hydrocarbons derived from crude oil. This substance, which was discovered in the 19th century, quickly became popular and is used by many people in the world due to the properties it can have in moisturizing the skin. However, there is an important question about the nature of this product. Whether petrolatum is flammable or not. If you want to get to know the answer to this important question, we suggest you read the rest of this article.
Understanding the Chemistry Behind Flammability in Petroleum
Oil can be considered a combination of small and large hydrocarbons, which are also an organic compound of carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons are flammable substances that are combustible depending on their physical and chemical properties. In such a way that if exposed to a spark or flame, they may ignite and burn. Now, for people who are aware of the composition of Vaseline, a question may arise, Vaseline is also flammable? You will read the answer to this question in the following.
Can petroleum jelly be Flammable?
Yes. As you know, petroleum jelly consists of a set of hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are also inflammable substances, and thus it can be concluded that Vaseline will start to burn if exposed to a heat source or the flame of a torch. However, there is an important point about the flammability of Vaseline. This is because the ignition point of Vaseline is relatively high and does not ignite at low temperatures.
Thus, it can be said that petroleum jelly can burn, however, it cannot be classified as a flammable substance. The reason for this is due to the long hydrocarbon chains present in Petrolatum, which give it a high ignition temperature of around 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71.11 degrees Celsius. This means that it cannot be easily ignited by a regular match or alcohol fire.
However, there is an exception to this rule. When there is a significant amount of oxygen present, petroleum jelly can become flammable. Oxygen is necessary for starting any fire, and an increase in oxygen levels significantly lowers the ignition temperature of Petrolatum.
What happens if you burn petroleum jelly?
When petroleum jelly is burned, it emits black smoke at high temperatures and burns with a yellow-orange blaze until all of the jelly has been consumed. Barrier creams containing hydrocarbon molecules have the potential to ignite when exposed to airborne oxygen. The burning of Petrolatum can release poisonous toxins and produce a large flame and sooty smoke. Inhaling the smoke created by burning Petrolatum can cause respiratory issues.
When dealing with a major petroleum jelly fire, it is not advisable to use water to extinguish it, as this can make the fire worse. Instead, the best approach is to smother the fire with wet blankets or earth to cut off its oxygen supply and put it out safely.
Factors That Affect the Flammability of petroleum jelly
Several factors affect the flammability of petroleum jelly. One of the most important factors is the viscosity or thickness of Vaseline. Thicker models will be less prone to flammability compared to thinner or more liquid forms. The reason is that the high concentration of Vaseline in an environment causes less contact with oxygen and reduces flammability.
Does the Purity of Petroleum Jelly Impact Its Flammability?
The purity of petroleum jelly can also affect its flammability. Pure petrolatum, which is free from any pollution and impurities, has a higher ignition point and will ignite at a higher temperature, compared to models with impurities. Thus, the importance of choosing quality and pure products will be essential to minimize the flammability of Vaseline.
Precautions to Take When Using Petroleum Jelly
While the use of petroleum jelly is generally safe, it is necessary to take some safety precautions to minimize the risk of its flammability. These precautions have been introduced for the maintenance of Vaseline. In the following, you will get to know some of these suggestions or tips.
1. Keep away from open flames.
We advise you not to use petroleum jelly near flames. Hydrocarbons in petrolatum may start to catch fire with the high heat of the torch and be dangerous.
2. Use in moderation.
We always recommend using Vaseline only in the amount you need. Using without a consumption pattern can lead to various risks for you.
3. Keep out of reach of children.
We also recommend keeping petroleum jelly out of the reach of children. to prevent their sudden ingestion. Eating gasoline may cause other health problems.
In this article, we answered the important question of whether it is petroleum jelly or not. Vaseline is flammable due to the presence of hydrocarbons. However, a certain limit of temperature must be observed so that we do not witness such a situation in any way.
Also, read this page: petroleum jelly characteristics