Flammable liquids-storage of chemicals, Science

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Flammable Liquids : Bulk supplies of all flammable liquids should be kept in a solvent store well away from main buildings. The store should be securely locked and fire warning notices should be prominently displayed on the door. Electric switches for power and lights in and around such stores should be "spark free" to prevent the ignition of spilled solvent, vapour. For the same reason, safety lights in which the hot surface of the electric light bulb is contained within a glass cover should also be fitted. This isolation of large drums and Winchester bottles of flammable solvents, etc. considerably reduces the extent and likelihood of fires.

Bottles of liquids must not be placed in direct sunlight. As mentioned in the previous unit the liquid contained within the curved glass can act as a lens to focus the sunlight. Considerable temperature increases can be obtained which may result in a fire. A steel bottle store is suitable for keeping small amounts of flammable liquids that are used in schools and other small labs. These containers should be properly labelled to indicate a fire hazard and should not be located near radiators or any naked flames. The ideal storage for bottles of flammable liquids is in a thick wooden box with a retaining sill inside a metal container.

There is a considerable amount of legislation controlling the storage of flammable materials, gas cylinders and other hazardous materials.

You must not store explosive materials such as sodamide (NaNH2) and potassium metal in bulk. Your best option is to buy this kind of material in amounts which can be used in a year, because after this time it may become explosive. Another example of a substance becoming explosive if stored too long is ether. Periodic testing for its oxidising properties using potassium iodide and hydrochloric acid (giving iodine) indicates the condition of the ether. If the test proves positive, the ether must not be allowed to evaporate to dryness.

385_A carboy siphon.png

Figure: A carboy siphon.

Compatibility of substances is another headache for you if you have to work out storage of substances. The basic requirement of fire prevention, i.e. separation of fuel from ignition sources (flammable substances from unstable substances), must be observed.


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