Ethyl Alcohol

Ethyl Alcohol Characteristics
Synonyms Ethanol, EtOH, Absolute alcohol
CAS No. 64-17-5
Chemical formula C2H5OH
Vapour density 1.59 (air = 1)
Safe Work Australia ES TWA 1,000 ppm
Flammable limits LEL 3.1 % by volume
UEL 19.0 % by volume (at 60°C)
Equipment group IIB
Temperature T2
Chemical/physical properties Ethanol is a colourless, volatile liquid with a highly flammable vapour. It has a burning taste and a mild pleasant odour, reportedly detectable by smell at around 84 ppm.
Hazardous properties Ethyl alcohol evaporates rapidly at room temperature (even in quite dilute solutions with water), readily forming flammable and explosive mixtures in air (it has a low flash point of 12 °C and an ignition temperature of 400 °C). A significant spill can spread along the ground, collecting in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks etc.) and vapours may travel to source of ignition and flash back.
In addition to the well-known intoxicant effect if ingested or inhaled, its vapour is irritating to the eyes and upper respiratory tract.
Once absorbed into the blood stream it is rapidly metabolised to carbon dioxide and water.
Occurrence/Uses Ethyl alcohol is produced naturally by the fermentation of sugars in fruits, grain and vegetables due to the action of enzymes in yeast.
It is used in alcoholic beverages, as an industrial solvent and as a raw material in the synthesis of other organic chemicals.
Detectors available Catalytic bead (0 – 100 % LEL)
Electrochemical sensor (0 – 1,000 ppm)
Gas detector tube (0.05 – 5 % by volume)
Suggested alarm levels Lo: 5 % LEL (1,550 ppm)
Hi: 10 % LEL (3,100 ppm)


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