[Histonet] Re: Storing acetic acid ***

John Kiernan jkiernan <@t> uwo.ca
Tue Jan 25 14:04:26 CST 2011

The rule about storing "corrosives" and "alcohols" together is to prevent the accidental mixing of concentrated nitric acid with ethanol. This could occur if an earthquake shakes and breaks the bottles in a confined space. Schoolboys in the 1950s knew all about this and other interesting explosive chemical reactions, back in the days when elementary chemistry was more than just arithmetic. We had fun! 
Acetic acid can burn. I was surprised to read that its flash point (39C) is similar to that of gasolene [petrol] (40-70C). The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a spark (?>800C) just above the surface will set the liquid on fire. For comparison, the flash point of xylene is 29C, ethanol 18C and acetone (a serious fire hazard) minus18C.  Data from the Merck Index, 12th ed, 1996. 
Acetic acid freezes at 17C (hence the name "glacial") but it contracts as this happens, so it doesn't break the bottle as can happen with freezing water.
John Kiernan
Anatomy, UWO
London, Canada
= = =
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Richmond <rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com>
Date: Saturday, January 22, 2011 22:26
Subject: [Histonet] Re: Storing acetic acid
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu

> Laurie Colbert (where?) asks:
> > I am trying to find out how to store acetic acid. We were 
> storing it in
> > our acid cabinet with the other acids, but we were inspected 
> by the fire
> > department last week and they said that acetic acid is 
> flammable and a
> > corrosive and that it should be stored with the flammables. 
> But my
> > manager is saying that you can't store corrosives and alcohols 
> together,> so I'm not sure where it should actually be stored 
> (other than in some
> > cabinet all by itself)!
> The Fisher Scientific MSDS - at
> http://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/00120.htm
> advises:
> Storage:  Keep away from heat, sparks, and flame. Keep from 
> contactwith oxidizing materials. Store in a cool, dry, well-
> ventilated area
> away from incompatible substances. Do not store near alkaline
> substances. Acetic acid should be kept above its freezing point 
> of 62
> degrees F (17 degrees C) to allow it to be handled as a liquid. It
> will contract slightly on freezing. Freezing and thawing does not
> affect product quality.
> Bob Richmond
> Samurai Pathologist
> Knoxville TN
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