May 07, 2021, 09:08:25 PM
Forum Rules: Read This Before Posting


Topic: Chemical Storage  (Read 376 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline lefty

  • New Member
  • **
  • Posts: 3
  • Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Chemical Storage
« on: March 11, 2021, 10:22:57 AM »
I'm not a chemist and I'd like to apologize in advance for this lame question. I'm not sure I'm welcome here as a non-chemist but I have searched the internet for information and a lot of it is over my head. I have a lot of interests and find forums to be THE best source for information.

I was given an almost empty (which I gather is worse than full) 55-gallon metal drum. There is about an inch of liquid at the bottom. The label says "N-Heptane, Isopropanol". Class 3 on the sticker.

My plan was to use it for motor oil storage. I was searching to find out what type of container would be appropriate to pour the remaining solvent into and whether or not any remnants mixing with oil would be hazardous when I learned that this is super dangerous stuff.

I'm concerned about static ignition during pouring, not to mention the remaining fumes in the drum. After reading a bit, I've become frozen with the fear and believe that I just welcomed a baby bomb into my garage. So I fearfully carried it outside in bare feet thinking I was less likely to impart any charge to it, especially since it's winter and very dry here right now. But now I'm afraid that if the sun hits the jet-black barrel it's going to blow up and kill my dog.

Am I just being paranoid or am I a goner if I mess with this? Should I try to give this thing back?

Thanks.

Offline chenbeier

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1349
  • Mole Snacks: +102/-22
  • Gender: Male
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2021, 04:53:49 PM »
n - Heptane is not more dangerous as  gasoline fuel for cars. Isopropanol is similar like Ethanol and is used as desinfection chemical in hospitals. Both are inflameble and fumes together with oxygen can explode.
So its not really a big problem.

Offline Enthalpy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3639
  • Mole Snacks: +299/-57
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2021, 07:52:37 PM »
Both are just flammable and volatile. But putting a closed (is it?) drum under sunlight can let it burst, and then a nearby ignition source would make a huge flame, yes. So better store it in the shade.

I second Chenbeier: as dangerous as gasoline. I'd know how to torch heptane and isopropanol safely. But how used are you to fire? Several gallons of gasoline can make nasty results if you manage them wrongly.

Offline Enthalpy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3639
  • Mole Snacks: +299/-57
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2021, 08:36:46 PM »
Re-thinking at it...

Your drum must be emptied before you store anything in it. If heptane or isopropanol remain in the drum, they will evaporate over time, and sooner or later you risk a bad explosion when a vapour+air mix reaches some ignition source like a lamp. Under bad conditions, several gallons of fuel vapour in the air blow easily a house away.

From the questions you ask and the bizarre precautions you took, clearly you aren't used enough with flammable and volatile liquids to remove them safely.

So my recommendation is that you find someone that will do it for you. A big expert with PhD won't bring anything, rather someone really used to playing with matches.

The operation isn't much more complicated than pouring the contents at the proper open place and igniting it from a distance, but it must be done properly, knowing how each object will behave. This can't be told over a forum, only a knowledgeable person on site can decide properly.

Offline lefty

  • New Member
  • **
  • Posts: 3
  • Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2021, 08:53:49 PM »
Thank you for the responses. I'm used to fire but I wanted to try and salvage the solution as it would be useful to me. It's a small amount and once transferred into a small container, I have a fire cabinet for volatile materials.

My plan, after realizing there was still some of the solvent in the drum, was to pour it into a plastic container and then leave the drum with the cap off behind my shed. This is far away from any other structure or traffic. Thinking any fues would vent out and the sun never reaches this area. The spout opening is about 2.5 - 3 inches in diameter. Rain would likely enter regularly into the tank so I thought I would set it on its side to prevent water from entering. My thought was that the fumes would vent and any dampness would evaporate quickly. Is this a likely outcome?

Thanks

This is what I would do with a gas can. Empty it and leave it open to vent far and away from anything.


Offline cayax

  • New Member
  • **
  • Posts: 4
  • Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2021, 10:54:22 PM »
Hey Lefty,

Not sure if you seen some Safety Data Sheets about N-Heptane and Isoproponol, but I will link them to this post to give a little more information about them. You can always google Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for any chemical if you need more information about them. I will say to be protected whenever handling organic solvents.

https://beta-static.fishersci.com/content/dam/fishersci/en_US/documents/programs/education/regulatory-documents/sds/chemicals/chemicals-h/S25348.pdf

https://beta-static.fishersci.com/content/dam/fishersci/en_US/documents/programs/education/regulatory-documents/sds/chemicals/chemicals-i/S25372A.pdf

Offline rolnor

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1338
  • Mole Snacks: +89/-5
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2021, 04:32:14 AM »
Yes, lefty, thats a perfect plan-

Offline lefty

  • New Member
  • **
  • Posts: 3
  • Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2021, 10:57:10 AM »
Thank you very much. For the links as well.

Offline Enthalpy

  • Chemist
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3639
  • Mole Snacks: +299/-57
Re: Chemical Storage
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2021, 06:01:38 PM »
The problem with safety data sheets is that they can make you unnecessarily paranoid. Their readers include firemen who fight disasters at chemical plants, so SDS mention dangers that are lethal with 100t or 1000t but negligible in smaller amounts. To anyone who starts reading SDS, I recommend to read also the SDS of ethanol (the alcohol we ingest in wine) and sodium chloride (table salt).

I have nothing against a smaller container nor against the transfer. For heptane, the container can't be polyethylene nor polypropylene, despite these are common, so better check it before.

I have much against the big drum full of air and flammable vapour. At some time, this condition will exist, and any ignition cause will hurt you or worse. So measures to shorten this condition is desirable.

I'd try to put the drum on some stones with its opening at the bottom, to let the remaining liquid flow out. The next step is unclear to me. I'd like to blow nitrogen or CO2 in the tank as long as vapour and liquid traces remain, but probably you aren't equipped for that. Maybe you can rinse with water, and isopropanol emulsifies the heptane (?) but then you have a polluting liquid.

Sponsored Links