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Chemistry > Chemical Reactions and Equations > Naphtha – Overview and Uses
Chemical Reactions and Equations

Naphtha – Overview and Uses


You must have seen a lighter and see how it lights up? Well, if you have, then you might have also noticed the liquid that is present in these lighters. The liquid which it contains is naphtha. It has uses in various industries because of its flammability. It is quite useful and acts as a great solvent.

Structure of Naptha

Naphtha is a liquid hydrocarbon mixture which is said to be highly flammable. It is utilized as a solvent in various human industries and is quite volatile. We use it as a fuel for most of the industrial uses.

Furthermore, one needs to understand that it is not just one liquid but a term for defining a wide category of chemicals. The common thing about this is that each of it has a potentially dangerous solution of hydrocarbons.


It is quite an old chemical that was discovered before the first century A.D. The three different types of naphtha include coal tar, petroleum, and shale.

Each of these creates under varying conditions and also serves for different uses because of its chemical properties. The crude oil distillation is responsible for producing it.

There are various other names which have been given to naphtha like Enerade ED-6202, petroleum naphtha, high-flash aromatic naphtha, and light aromatic solvent naphtha.

However, we can apply these different terms to a particular type of naphtha with intentional use.

Uses of Naptha

On the whole, we use it in three major ways. One is for the industrial uses, then as a solvent and finally as a fuel. As it is a large class of chemicals, it applies to various industries. However, it does have health and environmental concerns of its own.

Industrial Use

In industrial use, naphtha serves as a raw material for producing plastics like polyethene and polypropylene. Moreover, the different naphtha chemicals are also used as a raw material for generating petrochemicals containing gasoline and butane.

Other than that, it also comes in use for the energy sector. In fact, we use millions of tons of naphtha annually. They make it easy-to-use by breaking it down via a procedure of steam cracking.


As it has a large amount of chemical energy and is quite volatile, we use it to fuel products. Above all, it produces 3.14 megajoules of energy per litre.

A lot of camping goods stores plus hardware stores sell it to power the stoves, blowtorches, lanterns, cigarette lighters, heating units and more. Its ability to burn relatively cleanly makes it come in use as an additive to the other fuels.


We use petroleum naphtha as a solvent in various uses. You can find it in a lot of cleaning agents. It is so because it has a low evaporation point which makes it easier to use as a diluter for paints, asphalt, and varnish. Other than that, it also comes in great use for dry-cleaning business.

Safety Concerns

As we have discussed earlier, it is quite harmful to our health. For instance, if it comes in contact with your skin or eye, the affected area can experience irritation and also swelling which is very painful. You will have to flush your skin and eyes immediately after getting in contact with it.

Moreover, if you were to ingest this substance, it will result in nausea, respiratory failure, lung damage, and even death in severe cases.

In this case, do not prompt the person to vomit and seek medical help immediately. As it is quite flammable, it can also cause unexpected and dangerous fires.

Solved Question for You

Question– Which of the following does not contain naphtha?

A. Cigarette Lighter
B. Stove
C. Room freshener
D. Blow torch

Answer– The correct answer is option C.

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