METHODS FOR THE SAFE STORAGE, HANDLING, AND DISPOSAL OF PYROPHORIC LIQUIDS AND SOLIDS IN THE LABORATORY

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Pyrophoric reagents represent an important class of reactants because they can participate in many different types of reactions. They are very useful in organic synthesis and in industrial applications. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) define Pyrophorics as substances that will self-ignite in air at temperatures of 130 F (54.4 C) or less. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) uses criteria different from the auto-ignition temperature criterion. The DOT defines a pyrophoric material as a liquid or solid that, even in small quantities and without an external ignition source, can ignite ... continued below

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Simmons, F.; Kuntamukkula, M.; Alnajjar, M.; Quigley, D.; Freshwater, D. & Bigger, S. February 2, 2010.

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Pyrophoric reagents represent an important class of reactants because they can participate in many different types of reactions. They are very useful in organic synthesis and in industrial applications. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) define Pyrophorics as substances that will self-ignite in air at temperatures of 130 F (54.4 C) or less. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) uses criteria different from the auto-ignition temperature criterion. The DOT defines a pyrophoric material as a liquid or solid that, even in small quantities and without an external ignition source, can ignite within five minutes after coming in contact with air when tested according to the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria. The Environmental Protection Agency has adopted the DOT definition. Regardless of which definition is used, oxidation of the pyrophoric reagents by oxygen or exothermic reactions with moisture in the air (resulting in the generation of a flammable gas such as hydrogen) is so rapid that ignition occurs spontaneously. Due to the inherent nature of pyrophoric substances to ignite spontaneously upon exposure to air, special precautions must be taken to ensure their safe handling and use. Pyrophoric gases (such as diborane, dichloroborane, phosphine, etc.) are typically the easiest class of pyrophoric substances to handle since the gas can be plumbed directly to the application and used remotely. Pyrophoric solids and liquids, however, require the user to physically manipulate them when transferring them from one container to another. Failure to follow proper safety precautions could result in serious injury or unintended consequences to laboratory personnel. Because of this danger, pyrophorics should be handled only by experienced personnel. Users with limited experience must be trained on how to handle pyrophoric reagents and consult with a knowledgeable staff member prior to performing the experimental task. The purpose of this article is three fold: (1) to provide guidelines and general safety precautions to avoid accidents, (2) describe proper techniques on how to successfully handle, store, and dispose of pyrophoric liquids and solids, and (3) illustrate best practices for working with this class of reactants in a laboratory environment.

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Health and Safety

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  • Report No.: SRNS-STI-2010-00057
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-08SR22470
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 971666
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc929281

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 2, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 6:05 p.m.

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Simmons, F.; Kuntamukkula, M.; Alnajjar, M.; Quigley, D.; Freshwater, D. & Bigger, S. METHODS FOR THE SAFE STORAGE, HANDLING, AND DISPOSAL OF PYROPHORIC LIQUIDS AND SOLIDS IN THE LABORATORY, article, February 2, 2010; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929281/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.