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Basic Facts About Liquids

Liquefied Propane

Liquefied propane is a versatile energy form present in most unrefined natural gas and in crude petroleum. When extracted, it can have many industrial uses and may be used for heating and lighting. It can be found naturally as both liquid and gas. One of the most common methods of transporting it is via underground pipelines under high pressures in its liquid state. Should a pipeline become damaged and liquefied propane escape, you should be aware that:

  • In both liquid and gaseous states, it is colorless and odorless unless an odorant has been added.
  • Liquefied propane will burn when mixed with certain concentrations of oxygen or certain oxygen-containing substances and ignited.
  • Physical contact with liquefied propane can result in freezing burns or frostbite. Inhaling the vapor can cause symptoms of oxygen deficiency, such as rapid respiration, uncoordination, poor judgment, nausea and unconsciousness.
     

Natural Gasoline

Natural gasoline can be used for gasoline blending or as a petrochemical feedstock. Should a pipeline become damaged and natural gasoline escape, you should be aware that:

  • At room temperature, natural gasoline is a clear colorless liquid, with a distinct hydrocarbon odor.
    Vapors will ignite under the right circumstances.
  • Natural Gasoline is a dangerous fire and explosion hazard when mixed with air.
  • Vapors may migrate for considerable distances before reaching an ignition source at which time the fire would flash back to the source of the release.
  • Natural gasoline flame produces a heavy, black, thick smoke; and it can produce carbon monoxide when oxidized with a deficiency of oxygen.
  • Inhaling natural gasoline vapor can cause symptoms of oxygen deficiency, such as rapid respiration, uncoordination, poor judgment, nausea and unconsciousness.
     

Butane and Isobutane

Normal butane and isobutane can serve various industrial uses. These two energy forms are present in most unrefined natural gas and in crude petroleum products. Normal butane is used for gasoline blending or as a feedstock to make plastic products. Isobutane is used as a propellant primarily in aerosol products, foam packaging, paints and synthetic rubber or as a petrochemical feedstock, serving as a key octane component of motor gasoline or in high octane-enhancing gasoline additives. Should butane or isobutane escape to the atmosphere, you should be aware that:

  • At room temperature, both normal butane and isobutane are colorless gasses. They can be liquefied by lowering the temperature, increasing the pressure or both.
  • Normal butane has a slightly disagreeable odor. Isobutane can have a sulfurous odor like "natural gas," but sweetened isobutane has a slightly pleasant odor.
  • Both normal butane and isobutane are dangerous fire and explosion hazards when mixed with air. Vapors may migrate for considerable distances before reaching an ignition source at which time the fire would flash back to the source of the release.
  • Both normal butane and isobutane burn with a luminous, smoky flame; and can produce carbon monoxide when oxidized with a deficiency of oxygen.
  • Inhaling normal butane or isobutane vapor can cause symptoms of oxygen deficiency, such as rapid respiration, uncoordination, poor judgment, nausea and unconsciousness.
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