Aircraft are renowned for burning fuel to provide the power needed to fly, but it’s surprising to hear that because of their sophisticated body parts, they only utilize kerosene to fly instead of gasoline.
Because airplanes travel at fast speeds and fly at high altitudes where temperatures are extremely low, they require a fuel that will not thicken and clog the engine as it cools, which is why aviation experts chose Kerosene for its qualities.
In this article, I will explain why Kerosene, rather than gasoline, is utilized as a fuel in airplanes.
1. Its freezing point is low.
One of the main reasons jets use kerosene is because of its low freezing point. Aviation kerosene has a freezing point of -47 degrees Celsius. Planes travel at high altitudes, which means they spend a substantial amount of time in the air in sub-zero temperatures, necessitating the use of fuel with a low freezing point, such as kerosene, to keep the fuel from hardening during flight.
2. It is highly flammable.
Kerosene is more combustible than diesel, making it ideal for take-off. Due to its lack of flammability, it will not generate the initial power required to lift the plane off the ground, ruling it out as a feasible alternative.
Gasoline is similarly very flammable, but it has a low energy return and consumes a lot of fuel, making it much less efficient. This means that for the same distance, a plane would need to carry more fuel.
3. It has Low Viscosity.
Aviation kerosene has a lower viscosity than gasoline when used in flight, making it the ideal fuel for jet planes. Liquids with high viscosity are viscous, sticky, and gluey, which isn’t suitable for jet fuel.
Kerosene retains a low viscosity during the flight due to its low freezing point. This means the plane will continue to fly properly and the engine will not become clogged.
4. It is affordable.
Kerosene is far cheaper than gasoline, making it a more cost-effective choice for aircraft. Airlines must choose a less expensive source of fuel because flights are an expensive enterprise.
5. It is risk-free.
All airlines place a premium on safety, and aviation kerosene is a reliable and safe fuel source. This is because it has a greater flash point than gasoline and is thus less prone to produce unintentional combustion.
There are various additives in aviation kerosene that increase its safety and reduce the likelihood of unanticipated problems. These additions include anti-corrosive compounds, anti-static chemicals, and de-icing agents, to name a few.