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Author Topic: Flammable, Inflammable, Non-Flammable and Toxic Gasses  (Read 2042 times)

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Flammable, Inflammable, Non-Flammable and Toxic Gasses
« on: July 17, 2013, 12:20:22 PM »
Flammable and inflammable mean exactly the same thing.  Both words refer to something that burns easily.

Why are there two different words then? According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, back in the 1920s the National Fire Protection Association urged people to start using the word 'flammable' instead of 'inflammable' (which is the original word) because they were concerned some people might think inflammable meant not-flammable.

Actually, the 'in' - in 'inflammable' was derived from the Latin preposition meaning en- (like enflamed), not the Latin prefix meaning -un. It's not like everyone knew the derivation of the word, so the change probably made sense. However, confusion persists today regarding which word to use.

Flammable is the modern term for a material that catches fire readily. Inflammable means the same thing. If a material won't burn easily, you could say it is not flammable or nonflammable. I don't think unflammable is a word (and really anything can burn if you try hard enough, right?).

Flammable Gases and Toxic Gases

Flammability limits, also called flammable limits, give the proportion of combustible gases in a mixture, between which limits this mixture is flammable. Gas mixtures consisting of combustible, oxidizing, and inert gases are only flammable under certain conditions.

The lower flammable limit (LFL) describes the leanest mixture that still sustains a flame, i.e. the mixture with the smallest fraction of combustible gas, while the upper flammable limit (UFL) gives the richest flammable mixture. There is a quantitative difference between flammability limits and explosive limits.

In an explosive mixture the fuel oxidizer mixture is closer to stoichiometric proportion. This difference has no practical application in safety engineering as the flammable vapor cloud is turbulent and the exact mixture of fuel and oxidizer varies greatly. Therefore, many references use the term flammability limit(LFL, UFL) and explosive limit (LEL, UEL) interchangeably.

Attaining the perfect combustible or explosive mixture between a fuel and air is important in internal combustion engines, for example in gasoline or diesel engines.

Example of flammable gases

acrylonitrile  - acrolein  - acetylene  - acetaldehyde  - arsine  - ammonia 

butadiene  - butane - butylene - benzene

carbon monoxide - chloroethane - cyclopropane - carbon disulfide

ethane - ethylamine - ethylbenzene - ethylene - ethylene oxide

disilane - diborane - dimethylamine

hydrogen cyanide - hydrogen - hydrogen selenide - hydrogen sulfide

methane - monogermane - monomethylamine - methyl ether - methyl chloride - methyl bromide

propane - propylene oxide - propylene - phosphine

silane - trimethylamine - vinyl chloride

Other gases that fall under A or B are
Gases whose lower explosion limit (when mixed with air; here and below) is 10 % or lower gas concentration.
Gases for which the difference between the upper and lower explosion limits covers 20 % or larger area of gas concentration.
Examples of toxic gases

acrylonitrile - acrolein - arsine - ammonia - arsenic pentafluoride

benzene - boron trifluoride

carbon monoxide - chlorine - chlormethyl - chloroprene - carbon disulfide

diethylamine - disilane - diborane

ethylene oxide - fluorine

hydrogen cyanide - hydrogen selenide - hydrogen sulfide

methyl bromide - monogermane - monomethylamine - nitrogen trifluoride

phosgene - phosphine - phosphorus pentafluoride - phosphorus trifluoride

silane - sulfur dioxide - sulfur tetrafluoride - silicon tetrafluoride


Other gases whose threshold limit value is 200/1,000,000 or less.
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Adewale Odubiyi
Owner, Nigeria Oil & Gas Forum

Nigeria Oil & Gas Forum

Flammable, Inflammable, Non-Flammable and Toxic Gasses
« on: July 17, 2013, 12:20:22 PM »


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