I'm driving from Sydney to Melbourne (approximately 12 hours trip) and I'm wondering if it's safe to have this Galileo's Thermometer in my car during the trip if it's going to be a scorcher of a day. It could easily reach 35 degrees Celsius or over during the trip. I'm a little worried that it might explode. Any help much appreciated!

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  • $\begingroup$ Uhh... it shouldn't explode? Are there any precursors to your concern? $\endgroup$ – jeremy Dec 21 '13 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Jeremy, no, no precursors, just mildly paranoid and ignorant. I saw on wikipedia that the flash point of kerosene (paraffin) was 38–72°C. However, I suspect that "paraffin" may be one of those names that refers to various substances of which kerosene is only one. I do not know enough chemistry to be sure, so I thought I'd ask the experts! $\endgroup$ – mank Dec 22 '13 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ Well I doubt anything in the thermometer will explode, but you'd have to know exactly what's inside the thermometer to make sure. $\endgroup$ – jeremy Dec 22 '13 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ours exploded in the recent heat wave in Melbourne (jan '14). It was inside the house which may have reached somewhere in the 30s but we were away so I can't be exact with the temperature. $\endgroup$ – user4219 Jan 19 '14 at 10:38

Do not confuse the flash point with the autoignition temperature.

I don't know what atmosphere you have inside the thermometer, but either way I think it's hardly the case that you reach the autoignition temperature of paraffin (gasoline undergoes autoignition at 246-280 °C).

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your response, tschoppi. According to your first link, the flash point for Kerosene (paraffin) is >38–72 °C (100–162 °F), while the autoignition temperature is 220 °C (428 °F). I agree it would be highly unlikely that the paraffin in the thermometer would vaporise to form an ignitable mixture in air and then come into contact with an ignition source in my car! However, it can get awfully hot on the road here in Oz and I worried that a spark could be all it takes. Nonetheless, it became a moot point as we decided to keep the thermometer for ourselves :-) $\endgroup$ – mank Jan 9 '14 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget that the spark has to be in the thermometer, which makes this scenario all the more unlikely ;-) $\endgroup$ – tschoppi Jan 9 '14 at 10:56

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