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Naphtha is a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture, used as solvent and fuel.

Mixtures labelled naphtha have been produced from natural gas condensates, petroleum distillates, and the distillation of coal tar and peat. In different industries and regions naphtha may also be crude oil or refined products such as kerosene.

Name meaning

In older usage, "naphtha" simply meant crude oil, but this usage is now obsolete in English. It was also used for mineral spirits (also known as "Stoddard Solvent"), originally the main active ingredient in Fels Naptha laundry soap. The Ukrainian and Belarusian word нафта (nafta), Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian "nafta", the Russian word нефть (neft') and the Persian naft (نفت) mean "crude oil". Also, in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, nafta (нафта in Cyrillic) is colloquially used to indicate diesel fuel and crude oil. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, nafta was historically used for both diesel fuel and crude oil, but its use for crude oil is now obsolete and it generally indicates diesel fuel. In Bulgarian, nafta means diesel fuel, while neft, as well as petrol (петрол in Cyrillic), means crude oil. Nafta is also used in everyday parlance in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to refer to gasoline/petrol. In Poland, the word nafta means kerosene, as in lampa naftowa "paraffin lamp"; crude oil and (colloquially) diesel fuel are called ropa "pus". In Flemish, the word naft is used colloquially for gasoline.


There are two types of naphtha:

  • Light naphtha: the fraction boiling between 30 °C and 90 °C and consists of molecules with 5–6 carbon atoms.
  • Heavy naphtha: boils between 90 °C and 200 °C and consists of molecules with 6–12 carbon atoms.


Naphtha is a colorless flammable liquid, with a petroleum odor, which is immiscible with water, but miscible with nonpolar solvents. It density sits between 0.75-0.85 g/cm.

Naphtha burns if ignited.


Naphta can be bought from many hardware stores.


Naphtha is best bought than extracted from petroleum.


  • Fuel



Naphtha is very flammable. Ingestion of this liquid may be fatal.


Naphtha should be stored in closed bottles, in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from any heat, fire or spark sources. Like other petroleum mixtures, it does not store well over long periods of time and will degrade over time.


Naphtha should be burned outside.

See also


Relevant Sciencemadness threads