In the United States, diesel fuel accounts for just 3% of all automobiles; yet, in other regions of the world, such as Europe, it is far more common. Diesel is widely available and may be seen at many petrol stations wherever you are. Most people would imagine that diesel fuel burns quite easily, but is that the case? Does it burn or perhaps blow up the same way as petroleum (petrol) does?
Diesel fuel has a flashpoint exceeding 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it may catch fire and is categorized by OSHA as a flammable liquid. Diesel has a flashpoint of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Celsius. This indicates that it won’t ignite in the majority of ambient temps.
Below, we shall discuss the distinctions between flammable and combustible liquids. We’ll also examine the conditions that lead to a diesel fuel fire.
Combustible or flammable
Although they could be used interchangeably, flammable and combustible have different meanings.
“Flammable means it will catch fire, and combustible means it will explode when ignited,” is a common statement made by individuals. That isn’t entirely accurate.
The regulation 29 CFR 1910 contains certain requirements about flammable or combustible liquids specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
They were once defined by OSHA as:
Any liquid having a flashpoint lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) is considered flammable.
Any liquid with a flashpoint of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) or above is considered combustible.
That has altered, though.
According to OSHA, a liquid is flammable if its flashpoint is lower than 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).
The lowest temperature at which a material will release enough vapor to catch fire is known as its “flashpoint.”
Keep in mind that liquids and solids do not burn in the same ways. Depending on the temperature, they emit flammable fumes that, in the correct quantities, might catch fire.
It is clear from this that flammable liquids are riskier and more prone to fire (even at lower temperatures) than other types of liquids. Liquids that are flammable or non-flammable can still cause a fire; the difference is in the degree of flammability and temperature.
Can a Lighter Be Used to Light Diesel?
Does this imply that diesel fuel won’t catch fire if it is combustible as opposed to flammable?
Depending on the circumstances!
Fuel will release dangerous diesel fumes and, yes, ignite with a spark or flame if ambient temperature or other heat sources raise it over the flashpoint, which varies depending on the kind of diesel.
But, if the diesel is below the flashpoint, which is typically between 126 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, it will not ignite with a lighter or any other type of ignition source.
Is Gasoline or Diesel More Flammable?
Fuel is more combustible than diesel. It requires tremendous pressure or a steady flame to ignite in a car. However, a blazing match may ignite a gasoline pool without coming into contact with it. The gas’s released vapors can respond to heat right away.
Gasoline has a flashpoint of around -49 °F, or -45 °C. This can change based on things like the makeup of the fuel. In spite of this, gasoline burns more consistently and is easier to ignite than other fuels like kerosene. This is why a lot of automakers choose it over alternative fuels.
In the meantime, diesel’s flashpoint varies according to kind. The #2 kind is the most common, with a flashpoint between 125 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that these numbers (for any fuel) might change based on the surrounding air and pressure of the liquid.
It is evident that ordinary gasoline and diesel fuel differ greatly from one another. Although they both have the potential to catch fire, only gasoline is considered a flammable liquid. On the other hand, diesel is categorized as a flammable liquid.
But there’s no denying that diesel can and will burn. Under some circumstances, it can be extremely harmful and fuel flames.