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kerosene

kerosene or kerosine, colorless, thin mineral oil whose density is between 0.75 and 0.85 grams per cubic centimeter. A mixture of hydrocarbons, it is commonly obtained in the fractional distillation of petroleum as the portion boiling off between 150°C and 275°C (302°F–527°F). Kerosene has been recovered from other substances, notably coal (hence another name, coal oil), oil shale, and wood. At one time kerosene was the most important refinery product because of its use in lamps. Now it is most noted for its use as a carrier in insecticide sprays and as a fuel in jet engines.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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