Is Glycol Flammable? 

This article will answer the question, is Glycol flammable? It also covers several topics about what Glycol is, the types and applications of Glycol, the first aid treatment of glycol exposure, the fire handling method, and the storage of Glycol to prevent flame.

Is Glycol Flammable?

The flammability of Glycol depends on the type and characteristics of this chemical. Ethylene Glycol may be flammable at high temperatures. The Auto ignition temperature is 384°C. Meanwhile, Propylene Glycol is a flammable liquid with a lower flash point, thus resulting in a lower potential for flammability.

What is Glycol?

Glycol is a chemical substance belonging to the alcohol family of compounds. It’s more commonly referred to as antifreeze, and it has a pleasant flavor to it. It is often fluorescent-colored or transparent and slightly greasy in viscosity. However, it can be poisonous.

What are the Types of Glycol?

There are two types of Glycol with different levels of toxicity and other applications, namely:

  • Propylene Glycol
  • Ethylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol

Other names for propylene glycol are 1,2-dihydroxy propane, 1,2-propanediol, trimethyl glycol, and methyl ethyl glycol.

Propylene glycol is a water-absorbing synthetic liquid. Based on its form, Propylene glycol is colorless, transparent, and odorless at room temperature, comparable to syrup.

Propylene glycol dissolves some compounds more effectively than water and retains moisture better. Propylene glycol is commonly used as an additive in packaged goods such as fast food, bread, popcorn, food coloring, and dairy products.

Propylene glycol is a non-toxic glycol type. It promotes the preservation of materials and the keeping of moisture.

Ethylene Glycol

Ethylene glycol (IUPAC name: 1,2-ethanediol) is an organic compound used as a raw material for synthetic textiles, antifreeze, industrial fabrics, HVAC system, brake fluid, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used in plastic bottles. 

This compound has long been used as an ingredient in engine coolant mixtures because it has a shallow freezing point and a higher boiling point than water. This compound is colorless and odorless.

Ethylene glycol and its derivatives are more hazardous; therefore, use them cautiously. 

What are the Applications of Glycol?

Here are a few examples of Glycol applications in various industries:

  • Dough strengthening involves altering food’s starch and gluten content to make it more stable
  • The anti-caking chemical keeps food components from adhering together and producing lumps, such as grated cheese.
  • Antioxidants that extend the shelf life of food and protect it from oxygen degradation include
  • As a raw material in the manufacture of polyester fibers, industrial fabrics, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in plastic bottles
  • Emulsifier that keeps food ingredients like oil and vinegar in salad dressings from separating

What is the First Aid Treatment When Exposed to Glycol?

If you are exposed to glycol, follow the first aid treatment.:

  • If you ingest it, contact a medical center immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless a medical staff recommends it. Never offer liquid to someone unconscious. If you vomit, keep your head down to prevent stomach contents from entering your lungs.
  • Move to fresh air once it has been inhaled. Treating the symptoms is the best way to go. If your symptoms don’t go away, see a doctor.
  • When it comes into touch with the skin, properly wash it with soap and water. If irritation continues after washing, seek medical help.
  • If it touches your eye, flush it with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Remove contact lenses if possible. Seek medical assistance

What is the Fire Handling Method?

  • Do not inhale gases in the case of a fire or explosion.
  • Spray water over fire-exposed containers to keep them cool. Cool containers that have been exposed to flames with water until the fire has been extinguished.
  • If it is safe, remove containers from the fire area.
  • Firefighters must wear standardized protective equipment such as a flame-resistant coat, gloves, a helmet with a face shield, SCBA, and rubber boots.
  • Do not use water sprayed directly on fire will spread it. The fire may produce gases that are corrosive, unpleasant, and toxic.

You can learn more here

How is the Storage of Glycol to Prevent Flame?

  • Keep in a well-ventilated environment.
  • Close the container tightly. Store in a secure location with limited access.
  • Store in a cool, dry location

Conclusion

The chemical’s nature and properties determine glycol flammability. At high temperatures, ethylene glycol may be flammable. On the other hand, Propylene Glycol is a flammable liquid with a lower flash point, resulting in a lesser flammability potential. 

Many measures are put in place to avoid the negative effects of Glycol use.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs): Is Glycol Flammable?

What is Glycol’s flash point?

Glycol Flash Point is varied from 115°C to 384°C. 

What is the best way to clean up a glycol spill?

The easiest way to absorb ethylene glycol is to soak it in an absorbent substance. Sand, baking soda, kitty litter, or vermiculite are all acceptable substitutes (among others). In a pinch, paper towels or even newspapers can be utilized. 

After the absorbent material has been soaked up, sweep it into an appropriate garbage container for disposal.

Citations

https://inlandgroup.ca/media/glycol/SDSGLYCOL99.pdf
https://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/0878.pdf
https://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/8660

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment