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What Is Lighter Fluid?

Hot charcoal briquettes. Lighter fluid is often used to help the charcoal catch fire.
A lighter.
Hamburgers cooking on a grill.
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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Lighter fluid is a flammable substance that is used in various different types of lighters, as well as straight from bottles or cans to start fires. There are three basic kinds of fluids used, and they each have specific uses. Even though the different they are made with various chemicals and gases, they all have the same final task in mind.

Charcoal lighter fluid is an aliphatic petroleum solvent that is available in a can or bottle, and is one of the most common flammable liquids used throughout the world. This type of fluid was designed to aid in lighting charcoal for grilling or barbecuing. Even though the main use for this solvent is to light charcoal barbeque briquettes, it can also be used to start campfires, controlled burns, and even piles of garbage that can be burned without adding harmful toxins to the surrounding environment.

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Butane is also a very common form of lighter fluid. It is actually a gas in its original state, and is pressurized during the manufacturing process to form a fluid that is usable in various different applications. This form of fluid is used in most refillable cigarette and cigar lighters. Butane is also commonly used in portable camp stoves, small hand held torches for soldering and various craft projects, and many mid-size torches used in plumbing projects that require heat. This type of lighter fluid is used in various tools and applications and can be found in most retail stores throughout the world.

The final type of lighter fluid that can be found is a flammable liquid commonly known as Naphtha. This liquid chemical was used to ignite wicks on items that gave off fire, heat, and light. It is a liquid hydrocarbon mixture that is used in older style cigar and cigarette lighters, as well as lanterns that are not battery operated. These chemicals had many uses until butane was found to be easier and cheaper to produce, so most objects that require this type of lighter fluid are usually older items that are still usable, but that have been mostly replaced by more modern styles and designs.

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