Methyl Alcohol is the simplest alcohol. At room temperature it is a clear, volatile, water soluble liquid with a distinctive odour that is similar to but slightly sweeter than the scent of ethanol.
Methyl alcohol readily forms a flammable vapour (flash point: 9°C; ignition temperature: 440°C) in air, burning with a non-luminous flame.
Methyl alcohol is extremely toxic if inhaled or ingested. It causes optic neuropathy (blindness), lowered blood pH (acidosis) and respiratory depression. Methyl alcohol is absorbed rapidly but is very slow to be eliminated.
A small amount of naturally produced methanol is found in the atmosphere but does not build up as it is readily oxidised, with the help of sunlight, to carbon dioxide and water.
Methanol is used as an industrial solvent and an anti-freeze and in the manufacture of formaldehyde and other chemicals such as ethylene glycol.
Catalytic bead ( 0 – 100 % LEL)
Photoionisation (PID) ( at ppm levels)
Gas detector tube (20 ppm to 6.0 % by volume)
Suggested alarm levels
Lo: 5 % LEL (3,000 ppm)
Hi: 10 % LEL (6,000 ppm)
Methanol is often called wood alcohol as it was once produced as a by-product of the destructive distillation of wood.