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boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

4. Flash and Fire


Point
The aim of this experiment
To determine flash and fire point of an oil product
using closed cup method (Pensky Martens
apparatus).
Theory
Flash point is the lowest temperature at which
the oil product gives off enough vapors that
ignite for a moment when tiny flame is brought
near it.
Fire point is the lowest temperature at which
the vapors of the oil burn continuously for at
least five seconds when a tiny flame is brought
near it.
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boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

Flash and fire point can vary for a sample based on


factors including pressure, the quantity of the
chemical, and the location of the ignition source in
relation to the sample. The flash point for a
particular
chemical
is,
therefore,
somewhat
unreliable and should be used as a general guideline,
rather than an absolute value.

There are two basic ways in which the flash point


for a particular chemical can be determined: open
cup or closed cup experiments.
Both types of experiments are based on the fact
that a liquid that is combustible, such as gasoline,
releases vapors that are potentially ignitable.
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boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

As the temperature of the liquid increases, the


amount of these vapors also increases. This means
that at a certain temperature, the vapor
concentration is high enough that it becomes
ignitable.
Samples with a fairly low flash point are referred to
as flammable, while chemicals with higher flash
points are usually referred to as combustible.
An open cup experiment involves a quantity of a
particular sample placed in a container that is
open.
The sample is slowly heated and an ignition
source, such as a small flame (spark), is introduced
above the sample at various intervals.
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boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

This process continues until a temperature is


reached at which the vapors from the sample
ignite, which establishes the flash point for that
sample.
Once ignition occurs, the ignition source is
removed and the vapors should then stop
burning; if they continue to burn without the
source, however, then the fire point for a sample
has been reached.
In a closed cup experiment, the process is
similar but the container for the sample is lidded
and the ignition source is introduced through the
lid.
A closed cup experiment allows for the flash point
of a particular sample to be determined when that
sample is under increased pressure due to a
closed system.

boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

Using of flash and fire points:


It indicates fire hazard of petroleum products
and evaporation loses under high temperature.
It gives us the idea about the maximum
temperature below which the oil can be used
(this is very important for storage and
transportation)
Detection of contamination in the given oil
product
There
It classifies
thestandard
petroleum
(light or(one
heavy)
are three
methods
open and
two closed) to determine the flash
point
according volatile temperature of sample:

boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

1. Closed Abel Test


Closed cup flash point test for products and
liquid petroleum mixtures which have flash point
is between -30C and +70C.
2. Open Cleveland Test
Opened cup flash test point for products (heavy
petroleum) which have flash point is between
ambient and 400C .
3. Closed Penesky-Martens Test
Closed cup flash point test to determine the flash
point for products with flash point above 40 0C to
3600C.

boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

Materials and apparatus


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Closed Penesky-Martens (as described below)


Kerosene sample
Goggles
Lab coats
Heating source
Timer

Description of apparatus
1. Cup of sample
2. Thermometer and mixer
3. Hearth for heating (air bath, upper plate)
4. Covering (constant cover, moving cover,
exposing flame system)
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boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

The procedure:
1. Clean and dry all parts of the apparatus with
the help of suitable solvent e.g. carbon
tetrachloride (CCl4), ether, or benzene and dry
it to remove any traces of solvent.
2. Fill the oil cup with the sample (kerosene) up to
the mark.
3. Fix the lids on the top through which are
inserted a thermometer and a stirrer. Ensure
that the flame exposure device is fixed on the
top.
4. Light the flame and adjust it to about 4 mm in
diameter.
5. Heat apparatus in a rate of 5 0C/min until 35 0C
is reached as stirrer is continuously rotated.
(the rate of increasing temp. can be reached 8

boratory of Petroleum and Gas Properties

7. When test flame causes a distinct flame, note


temp. which represent the flash point.
8. Further heat the sample at lower rate (1 or 2
o
C) and continue applying the test flame as
before.
9. The temperature at which the vapors of the oil
give a clear and distinct blue flash for five
seconds is recorded as the fire point of the oil.
alculations, Discussion and Conclusion
1. What flash and fire point you observed?
2. Find flash and fire point of any type of
kerosene from any references.
3. Compare the result in number 1 and 2.
4. In Penesky-Martens apparatus, why the top
plate is screwed on the Air Bath through brass
spacers.