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10 facts about aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents, petroleum hydrocarbon solvents
Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 | Industrial / Mining


  1. Aliphatic hydrocarbons such as alkanes, isoparaffins and alkenes are the major components of gasoline.
  1. The aliphatic hydrocarbons may be of straight chain, branched or cyclic molecular structure. Some common aliphatic solvents are Mineral Spirits, petroleum naphtha, petroleum distillate, cyclohexane, octane, pentane or isopentane nonane. Many solvents can contain a blend of different aliphatic types or aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons depending on the end use.
  1. Hydrocarbons may contain traces or larger amounts of aromatic compounds and the higher the aromatic content the better the Kb or solvency.
  1. Petroleum hydrocarbons are available in two grades, the basic petroleum distillates and the specialty grade of synthetic paraffinic hydrocarbons. Products of the petroleum distillate grade include mineral spirits, kerosene, white spirits, and VM&P Naphtha. These are technologically less advanced, as they contain components that have a broad range of boiling points and may include trace amounts of benzene derivatives and other aromatics. Petroleum distillates were available many years before such solvents as low VOC hydrocarbons, Odorless Solvents, and chlorinated solvents attained their popularity. More recently, improved separation and synthesis techniques have led to the production of the specialty grade of paraffinic hydrocarbons.
  1. The number of carbons in the paraffin solvent typically ranges from 10 to 14. Compared to petroleum distillates, the paraffinic hydrocarbons have very low aromatic content, narrower boiling ranges, and higher solvency. Plus they are more expensive. So typical of these later solvents are the Isopars, the Linpars and Exxsol solvents – all of which CCC offers in our complete line of solvents.
  1. They are typically used when water contact with the parts is undesirable. Cleaning with petroleum distillates lends itself to simple, inexpensive, one-step cleaning in situations where a high level of cleanliness is not essential. Petroleum hydrocarbons have high solvencies for many “hard-to-clean” organic soils, including heavy oil and grease, tar, arid waxes. In addition, they have low liquid surface tension which allows them to penetrate and clean small spaces. Some precision cleaning operations are most effective with hydrocarbon cleaners.
  1. No water is used with hydrocarbon cleaners and therefore, there is no potential for water corrosion or for water to become trapped in cavities.
  1. The primary pollution prevention benefits of petroleum hydrocarbon solvents are that they produce no wastewater and that they are recyclable by distillation. Paraffinic grades have very low odor and aromatic content and low evaporative loss rates. However, planned recovery of VOCs is an important part of pollution prevention if these solvents are to be used.
  1. Mineral spirits solvents have been around since “the beginning of time” and are well received, well recognized and are used when traditional diluents, solvency at the best of cost is required.
  1. They are successfully used in packaging, (end use, BBQ Fluid, general cleaners), paint and coatings (as thinners), ink (as thinners), and machined automotive parts (as a degreaser).

As one of the top chemical suppliers in Canada, CCC has extensive technical expertise and a wide selection of hydrocarbon solvents and petroleum hydrocarbon solvents. 

Contact us now for technical support and product recommendations.