Naptha is commonly used as an aid in the refinement and distillation processes of crude oils into more efficient products, as well as a component of several types of gasoline. Its use is generally preferred over other types of crude gas oil. Naphtha is also an ingredient found in kerosene and gasoline
There are several processes in which naptha is used to help distill and refine crude oils, such as steam and catalytic cracking. Steam cracking involves the breaking down of hydrocarbon molecules into more simple forms, which can then be more easily utilized to produce refined gas products. Naptha provides the energy needed for steam cracking. Catalytic cracking uses oil vapor to help refine crude oils and produce a high yield of product.
The word "naphtha" is used to describe any of the hazardous liquid hydrocarbons. It can be distilled from coal tar, petroleum or peat. The first use of the word dates back to the 1570s and comes from the Greek "naphtha," meaning "bitumen." Besides being highly volatile, naphtha is a carcinogen and can cause respiratory and skin irritation.