Organic compound, the aluminum soap or salt of a mixture of fatty acids, used to thicken gasoline for use as an incendiary in flamethrowers and firebombs. The thickened mixture, itself also called napalm, burns more slowly and can be propelled more accurately and over greater distances than gasoline. When it comes in contact with surfaces, including the human body, it sticks tenaciously and continues to burn. It was developed and first used by the U.S. in World War II. Its use in the Vietnam War became highly controversial.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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