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safety instructions
CAS number

8030-30-6 (naphtha, low boiling point) and many others, depending on the exact composition and origin, see CLP regulation.

GHS labeling of hazardous substances
02 - Highly / extremely flammable 07 - Warning 08 - Dangerous to health 09 - Dangerous for the environment


H and P phrases H: 224-304-315-336-340-350-361-411
P: 201-210-280-301 + 310-403 + 233-501
Toxicological data

> 5000 mg kg −1 ( LD 50ratoral )

Naphtha or raw gasoline is the name of a relatively light petroleum fraction that is obtained in a refinery from crude oil by fractional distillation . Depending on the type of crude oil, both the mean boiling point and the exact composition of the naphtha vary.

In addition to naphtha obtained from crude oil, light distillates from coal tar and synthetic crude oil from oil shale are also called this. Coal tar naphtha ( English coal tar naphtha ) and oil shale naphtha (English shale naphtha ) differ from raw gasoline in their composition.

In addition, a crude oil rich in cycloalkanes (naphthenes) is also known as naphtha .

Properties, composition and extraction

Composition of different types of naphtha

Petroleum naphtha (petroleum)

Naphtha is one of the so-called low boilers , which in atmospheric petroleum distillation ( fractional distillation under normal pressure) is separated immediately after the gases, the lightest fraction. This initially results in “direct naphtha” ( straight-run , virgin naphtha or full-range naphtha ), which mainly consists of saturated aliphatics and to a small extent also contains aromatics ( BTEX ) as well as sulfur and nitrogen . It is colorless (with a kerosene smell) to reddish brown (with an aromatic smell), flammable and not soluble in water.

The raw naphtha is converted into light naphtha ( light petrol ; straight run gasoline , SRG; light virgin naphtha , LVN) in naphtha splinters, which contains a large part of the C 5 and C 6 hydrocarbons and has a boiling point between approximately 30 ° C and 130 ° C, as well as in heavy naphtha (heavy petrol; straight run benzene , SRB; heavy virgin naphtha , HVN), which contains a large part of the C 6 to C 12 hydrocarbons and has a boiling point between approximately 130 ° C and 220 ° C is separated.

In addition, so-called cracker naphtha is obtained by cracking from somewhat heavier petroleum fractions (including gas oil and vacuum gas oil ) that have previously been desulphurized and stabilized. In addition, from the heavy residues (is non-boiling ) of the vacuum distillation (asphalt / bitumen) in Koker so-called coker naphtha won. Crackernaphtha and Cokernaphtha - together also referred to as non-straight-run naphtha - contain a relatively large number of unsaturated, non-aromatic hydrocarbons ( olefins ). Coker naphtha also contains a relatively large amount of sulfur and nitrogen. The removal of sulfur and nitrogen as well as the conversion of unsaturated into saturated hydrocarbons is carried out by adding hydrogen ( hydrotreating ; cf. hydrodesulfurization ). Cracker and coconut naphtha can then be further treated and used like straight-run naphtha, but they also serve as a starting material for the production of very light hydrocarbons in steam crackers , especially light naphtha, which is also called light distillate feedstock (LDF) in this special context becomes.

Oil shale naphtha

Shale naphtha is a product of the distillation of synthetic crude oil ("shale oil"), which was obtained from oil shale by pyrolysis . Its composition is similar to that of cracker naphtha, but it contains fewer saturated hydrocarbons and more olefins, aromatics and sulfur and, to a lesser extent, tar acids and tar bases.

Coal tar naphtha

Coal tar naphtha is a product of the distillation of coal tar , which is obtained at temperatures between 160 and 220 ° C. It differs significantly from petroleum and oil shale naptha in that it has a very high proportion of aromatics, a relatively high proportion of tar acids, a relatively low proportion of olefins and a very low proportion of saturated hydrocarbons. With its high aromatic content, coal tar naphtha falls under the generic term solvent naphtha (solvent benzene, heavy benzene). Solvent naphtha can also be produced from petroleum and oil shale naphtha by catalytic reforming .


As a product of crude oil distillation, naphtha is one of the most important raw materials in the petrochemical industry and is mainly used for the production of gasoline fuels , aircraft fuel (so-called naphtha type jet fuel , e.g. Jet B , which is slightly lighter and has a lower flash point than pure kerosene ), and as a starting material for BTEX production and as a solvent , for example as a component of VM + P naphtha ( V arnish M akers and P ainters, a type of paint thinner).

Ethene , among other things , can be obtained from naphtha in the steam cracker , from which ethanol (“alcohol”) can be produced by hydration , which is used, among other things, for the production of pharmaceuticals .

Furthermore, "naphtha" is mentioned as an important part of the Greek fire , which was used as a feared weapon by the Byzantines in flamethrowers and primitive hand grenades in the early and high Middle Ages . However, this is most likely not a distillate, but undistilled crude oil, which in written records from this period is optionally referred to as “petroleum” or “naphtha”.


The word naphtha comes from the Greek : νάφθα náphtha in turn has its origin in the Persian word naft for "petroleum". The Persian word perhaps goes back to the Babylonian word naptu "petroleum" (from nabatu "to shine").

The names for the class of compounds called naphthenes and the name of the bicyclic aromatic hydrocarbon naphthalene are derived from naphtha .

In some Slavic languages ( Bulgarian , Slovak , Czech ) nafta (Cyrillic нафта) is the word for diesel fuel . In Polish the word stands for petroleum, which is similar to diesel . In Slovenian , Croatian and Serbian it means oil, as well as the very similar Russian word нефть ( neft ).

Reception in the Bible and literature

Naphtha is associated with a biblical miracle of fire in the Second Book of the Maccabees . The Bible passage translates "Neftar" as "purification".

In his novel The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann lets the fanatical and, figuratively, “burning” figure of the Jesuit Naphtha appear who, with her antagonist, the liberal -minded Settembrini, engages in ideological disputes up to and including duels.


  • Andrzej Gorak, Hartmut Schoenmakers (Ed.): Distillation: Operation and Applications. Academic Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-12-386876-3 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Naphtha  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Ash: Handbook of Green Chemicals. Synapse Info Resources, Endicott (NY) 2004, ISBN 978-1-890595-79-1 , p. 792.
  2. The CLP regulation . Consolidated version including 8th ATP (draft). Hüthig Jehle Rehm, 2015, ISBN 978-3-609-65045-6 .
  3. a b c Entry for CAS no. 8030-30-6 in the GESTIS substance database of the IFA , accessed on April 1, 2013(JavaScript required) .
  4. a b entry on naphtha. In: Römpp Online . Georg Thieme Verlag, accessed on May 20, 2013.
  5. ^ A b G. U. Dinneen, RA Van Meter, JR Smith, CW Bailey, GL Cook, CS Allbright, John S. Ball: Composition of Shale-Oil Naphtha. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 593. US Department of the Interior, Washington 1961 ( online ), p. 5.
  6. ^ Malcolm A. Fox: Glossary for the Worldwide Transportation of Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Materials. Springer, 1999, ISBN 978-3-662-11890-0 , p. 45.
  7. James H. Gary, Glenn E. Handwerk, Mark J. Kaiser: Petroleum Refining: Technology and Economics. Fifth Edition, CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8493-7038-0 , p. 52.
  8. Petroleum Processing: fractions of oil on, accessed on September 8, 2015.
  9. Joseph V. Koleske: Paint and Coating Testing Manual. 14th. Edition, ASTM International, 1995, ISBN 978-0-8031-2060-0 , p. 126 f.
  10. Petrochemicals: More than gasoline on, accessed on September 11, 2015.
  11. Gabriele Pasch: The liquid fire on, accessed on August 10, 2016.
  12. Claus Priesner, Karin Figala: Alchemy: Lexicon of a Hermetic Science. CH Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-44106-8 , p. 249.
  13. Christian Gizewski : Persian heritage in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Turkish and in various contemporary European languages Ancient History on the WWW. TU Berlin, accessed on February 28, 2010.