Corrosive Materials; Flammable Materials; Oxidizers; Moisture Reactive; Compressed Gases; Toxic and Poisonous Substances

Standard Operating Procedure No. 2

Flammable Materials

Scope: Liquids:  Organic Acids, Liquids, and Solvents.  Pyrophorics

Solids:  Metal Powders, Alkali Metals, Reducing Agents

Gases:  Butane, Hydrogen, Propane, Acetylene

Hazards:   Liquids:  Organic liquids and solvents are capable of immediate ignition when sufficient oxygen is present, and the temperature of the substance is at or above its flash point.  Vapors tend to be heavier than air and will sink toward the ground.  Ignition sources include heating mantels, electrical shorts, static electricity, sparks and flames, and heating the substance above its auto-ignition temperature.  Contact with acid generates sufficient heat to violently ignite the resulting mixture producing toxic gases.  Inhalation of solvents can exhibit toxic effects.  Pyrophorics ignite immediately upon contact with air producing fire and toxic gases.

Solids:  Alkali metals such as potassium, calcium, and sodium generate flammable hydrogen gas when added to water.  The heat generated from this reaction is sufficient to ignite the gas.  Finely divided metal powders such as aluminum and magnesium ignite immediately upon contact with moist skin or air.  Reducing agents such as sulfides, hydrides and carbides react violently with water and moisture in the air to produce flammable and toxic gases.  Carbides evolve flammable acetylene gas when contracted with water.  Hydrides ignite spontaneously with air and sulfides react with moisture or water to emit toxic and flammable hydrogen sulfide gas.

Gases:  Gaseous substances are extremely flammable.  Pressurized cylinders allow rapid release of flammable gases if not controlled.  Introduction of contaminates (e.g. oil) into cylinder equipment such as valve regulators can cause contamination and explosion with reactive flammable gases such as acetylene.  Pressurized gases present physical hazards such as flying debris when gas is released in an uncontrolled manner.

Storage: Liquids:  Store at ambient temperature in approved containers in “Flammable” safety storage cabinets according to district policy on Flammable and Combustible Liquids.  Do not sore in direct sunlight.  Use stoppers when possible to prevent pressure build-up.

Solids:  Store containers according to standard laboratory storage patterns in use (e.g. Flynn).  Keep containers sealed at all times.  Reactive metals must be stored under nitrogen or kerosene and protected from breakage.

Gases:  Cylinders must be secured at all times.  Valves must be shut off when not in use.  Cylinders may not be located within 20 feet of Oxygen cylinders.

PPE: Liquids:  Safety Goggles; Gloves (Heating); Instructor Lab-Coat

Solids:  Safety Goggles; Gloves (Heating); Instructor Lab-Coat

Gases:  Safety Goggles; Instructor Lab-Coat

Usage: Liquids:  Liquids must be handled in hood.  Limit heating to water and oil baths, heating mantles, and heating tape.  Maintain electrical equipment in good repair and do not use near sources of ignition.  Use non-sparking equipment.  Ensure transfers between metal containers are grounded to each other.  Pyrophorics must be worked with under a nitrogen blanket or purged within the hood area only.  Ethers are not allowed outside of the hood area.

Solids:  Handle all solids with great care.  Do not use near water unless required for experimentation.  In such cases, ensure only the amount necessary for the experiment is removed from the container.  All transfers must be done in the hood.  Care must be taken when transferring metal powders to prevent airborne dusts from igniting.

Gases:  Open cylinder valves and regulators slowly to prevent rupture of attached tubing.  Ensure cylinders are well secured.  Do not use gases near sources of ignition.  After opening, perform “leak-check” of all connection fittings.  Ensure regulators and valves are closed when finished with experiment.  Do not transport unless caps are securely fastened.

Waste: Liquids, Solids, Gases:  Contact Maine Department of Environmental Protection for details.  Wastes may be hazardous in nature requiring disposal by a DEP-licensed contractor.