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Napalm is a flammable substance used in warfare. It is based on gasoline, but gasoline burns itself too quickly to be useful as an incendiary weapon in bombs or flamethrowers. The chemical reaction is moderated by a powder of naphthene and palmitate (thus napalm), forming a soap-like substance. The relative amount of powder changes the burning properties, and is varied for flamethrowers and bombs. Napalm-B is an improved variant of napalm, made from benzene and polystyrene. It was known for the particular smell it made while burning.

The mixture was invented at Harvard University in 1942. It was used during World War II by the Allied Forces against cities in Japan, and later by the United States during the Vietnam War.

The use of Napalm and other incendiaries against civilian populations was banned by a United Nations convention in 1980 [1]. The United States didn't sign the agreement but claimed to have destroyed its arsenal in 2001.

The United States has reportedly been using Napalm in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [1] In August 03 the Pentagon stopped denying the charge, admitting it did use "Mark 77 firebombs"

"We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches," said Colonel James Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11. "Unfortunately there were people there ... you could see them in the [cockpit] video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It's no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect."

These bombs contain a substance "remarkably similar" to Napalm. This substance is made with kerosene and polystyrene. [1]

A generic form of napalm can be produced with gasoline and polystyrene.

See also : Agent Orange