The Chemistry of Jet Fuel


Jet fuel is a specific blend of fuels used in aviation to run turbine powered engines for both military and civilian use. Military fuels differ from commercial use in a few different ways. The most common commercial Jet fuel is Jet A and Jet A-1 which is a cheaper and less refined version of the Jet fuel blend and does not contain all the chemicals used in military blends. The most common military blend of Jet fuel is JP-8 and JP-4 which are engineered for military use. The biggest difference in the two blends is there freezing points and ability to handle high heat. Jet fuel is a huge part of our world today and without it transportation would never be the same.

Composition of ...

    • Unleaded kerosene(Jet A)
    • Naptha-kerosene(Jet B)
    • Anti-Freeze
    • Hydrocarbons
    • Antioxidants
    • Metal deactivators
    • N-heptane
  • Isooctane

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

    • The two main components are Unleaded Kerosene and Gasoline
    • Molecular formula for Kerosene is, CnH2
    • Molecular formula for Gasoline is, CH2
    • Kerosene allows the fuel to burn hotter and has a very low melting point.
    • Gasoline is a petroleum and also prevents the mixture from freezing inside the airplanes gas tanks.
  • Kerosene has to be extracted from crude oil and further purification must be completed so that it will burn clean enough to run in jet engines. Once extracted chemists must figure out the perfect blend between kerosene and gasoline so that the fuel burns efficient and keeps the engine running properly.

Chemistry's Role

Chemists are very involved in the refining of the jet fuel. At certain temperatures different grades of gasoline are let off and it is up to the chemists to figure out exactly what temperatures they need to capture these gases at for different uses.

Background Research

    • Jet fuel can be burned in diesel motors
  • Jet fuel costs on average $6 a gallon


About the Author

Tj Blain is currently a high school junior at Billings Senior High School. Aviation is his passion and is a part of his everyday life. He plans on attending Rocky Mountain College and mastering in Aeronautical Science and later on becoming an Airline pilot.