Flammable Materials

Flammable liquids and solids are common in Chemistry and Biology laboratories. Some common flammables include:

  • Ethanol
  • Isopropanol
  • Ether
  • Acetone
  • Methanol
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Hexanes

Flammable materials should be always kept away from open flames (i.e. a Bunsen burner), hot surfaces (i.e. hot plates), electrical equipment (i.e. balances- many laboratory fires have started due to flammable liquid/vapor contact with balances), static electricity and other ignition sources.

Minimize the amount of flammable material out at any one time, especially those with low flash points. The flash point of a substance is the lowest temperature it can form an ignitable mixture in air. Chemicals with flash points below 73ºF are listed as the most dangerous as they are ignitable in air at room temperature. Flashpoints are commonly listed on the chemical label.

Flammable materials should be stored in flammable cabinets, with only small squirt bottles allowed to be stored on bench tops.

When using flammable materials or being present in a laboratory with stored flammable materials, always be aware of the locations of fire extinguishers and fire alarms in case of an emergency.

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