Methyl Alcohol

Methyl Alcohol Characteristics
Synonyms Methanol, Carbinol, Wood alcohol, MeOH
CAS No. 67-56-1
Chemical formula CH3OH
Vapour density 1.11 (air = 1)
Safe Work Australia ES TWA 200 ppm
STEL 250 ppm
Flammable limits LEL 6.0 % by volume
UEL 36.0 % by volume (at 60 °C)
Equipment group IIA
Temperature classification T2
Chemical/physical properties Methyl Alcohol is the simplest alcohol and at room temperature is a clear, volatile, water soluble liquid with a distinctive odour that is very similar to, but sweeter than ethanol.
Hazardous properties 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.
Occurrence/Uses 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, an anti-freeze and in the manufacture of formaldehyde and other chemicals such as ethylene glycol.
Detectors available 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)
Notes Methanol is often called wood alcohol as it was once produced as a by-product of the destructive distillation of wood.


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