What are pyrophoric materials?
Pyrophorics are materials that will ignite spontaneously in air. The flame is often invisible.
How should I handle pyrophoric materials?
- Never work alone
- Solids must be transferred in inert atmospheres
- Liquids should be stored in sealed containers with PTFE-lined septa to prevent air exposure.
- Handling of liquid pyrophorics must be conducted via cannula or syringe transfer to prevent exposure to air if not manipulated within an inert atmosphere
- Do not let the pyrophoric material come in contact with any combustible materials, including paper products
- Needles should be equipped with locking mechanisms to prevent accidental disconnection and release of reagents
- Use a shield or hood with the sash at the lowest possible height whenever possible
What are some examples of pyrophoric materials?
- organo-metallic reagents (i.e. Grignard reagents)
- alkali earth elements (sodium, potassium, cesium)
- finely divided metals (Raney nickel, aluminum powder, zinc dust)
- metal hydrides (sodium hydride, germane, lithium aluminum hydride)
- alkyl metal hydrides (butyllithium, trimethylaluminum, triethylboron)
- metal carbonyls (nickel carbonyl, iron pentacarbonyl)
- gases (arsine, diborane, phosphine, silane)
- silicon halides (dichloromethylsilane
What if I spill something pyrophoric?
- Powdered lime or sand can be used to smother the flame
- DO NOT use water or a fire extinguisher for these spills
- If the material make contact with the skin or eyes, flush completely with water for 15 minutes
- Seek first aid for any burns
Page last modified December 1, 2010