Butane (C4H10) is an alkane hydrocarbon. This gas is produced while refining crude petroleum or in natural gas deposits. It is mainly used filled in cylinders as a household fuel (water heater, cooker, heating). However butane is used in industrial environments as well, particularly in the synthesis process of ethylene, propylene or butadiene.
|CAS||LEL||UEL||IP||Density / Air||Filter / SCBA|
|106-97-8||1.6 %||8.4 %||10.63 eV||2.01||AX / ARI|
Butane effects on health
If inhaled, butane can have severe consequences on human health that can lead to death (asphyxia, ventricular fibrillation). Butane combustion can also lead to these hazards as it exhausts harmful substances like nitrogen dioxide. When combustion is incomplete – because of an oxygen deficiency – butane combustion produces carbon and carbon monoxide as well.
When its concentration reaches 17,000 ppm, butane is a central nervous system depressant. At high levels, it acts like a simple asphyxiating agent that can move the necessary to breathing oxygen. It is also dangerous in confined spaces where its concentration has to stay under 10% of the LEL (lower explosive limit) – 1,600 ppm.
Butane is slightly soluble into water but dissolves into alcohol and ether. Odorless and colorless, it is gaseous at room temperature but can liquefy at relatively low pressure levels. Butane is highly flammable. It easily ignites in presence of static electricity, flame or any other ignition source. Between 1.6 and 8.4%, it forms an explosive mixture with air.