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naphtha

naphtha (năp´thə, năf´–), term usually restricted to a class of colorless, volatile, flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures. Obtained as one of the more volatile fractions in the fractional distillation of petroleum (when it is known as petroleum naphtha), in the fractional distillation of coal tar (coal-tar naphtha), and in a similar distillation of wood (wood naphtha), it is used widely as a solvent for various organic substances, such as fats and rubber, and in the making of varnish. Because of its dissolving property it is important as a cleaning fluid; it is also incorporated in certain laundry soaps. Coal-tar (aromatic) naphthas have greater solvent power than petroleum (aliphatic) naphthas. Originally the term naphtha designated a colorless flammable liquid obtained from the ground in Persia. Later it came to be applied to a number of other natural liquid substances having similar properties. Technically, gasoline and kerosene are considered naphthas.

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naphtha

naphtha Any of several volatile liquid-hydrocarbon mixtures. Naphtha first appears in the writings of Pliny the Elder in the 1st century. Alchemists used the word for various liquids of low boiling point. Several types of products are now called naphtha, including coal-tar naphtha and petroleum naphtha.

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naphtha

naph·tha / ˈnaf[unvoicedth]ə; ˈnap-/ • n. Chem. a flammable oil containing various hydrocarbons, obtained by the dry distillation of organic substances such as coal, shale, or petroleum.

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naphtha

naphtha inflammable oil from coal. XVI. — L — Gr. náphtha, also náphthas, of Oriental orig.

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naphtha

naphtha •Cather • naphtha •anther, panther, Samantha •Arthur, MacArthur, Martha •ether, Ibiza •Tabitha • Hiawatha • author • Gotha •Luther • Gunther • Agatha • Golgotha •Bertha, Jugurtha

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