Ensuring your chemicals are at the optimum temperature is one of the most essential aspects of safe chemical storage. This is a feature which becomes particularly prominent during the cold winter and warm summer months. If the temperature of a chemical is allowed to go above or below the assigned temperature range according to the chemical manufacturer, as shown by the MSDS (material safety data sheet), it will be adversely affected and in extreme cases may even cause chemicals to become volatile and potentially dangerous. If a chemical is allowed to drop below its freezing point it will expand, potentially causing the container to rupture leading to a hazardous leak.
Another potential outcome of allowing your chemical to fall to a low temperature is that it may spoil or suffer a noticeable drop in quality which can directly affect your production process. The viscosity of a liquid is directly related to its ambient temperature, decreasing with a drop in the temperature, which may cause the chemical to become unusable, and increasing at higher temperatures, which would cause in the case of a spill cause it to spread further than otherwise and increase the danger associated.
Acetic acid, for example, has a freezing point of approximately 17˚C and can freeze in an unheated store. As it freezes, it expands and in extreme cases may cause a fissure in the container creating a potentially dangerous scenario.It is also essential to ensure that your stored chemicals are not allowed to exceed their stated safety temperature maximum.
Flammable liquids are defined as such if they have a flashpoint below 60˚C. If the temperature of a liquid is allowed to surpass the stated flashpoint it will begin to give off vapour in a sufficient quantity to form a combustible mixture with the air and create a potentially explosive environment.
It is therefore recommended that all flammable liquids be stored in a cool dry place away from sources of ignition and heat. During the summer months it would not be unusual for the temperature within an unventilated chemical store in direct sunlight to rise to this dangerous level.
A pyrophoric material for example is defined as a liquid, solid, or gas that will ignite spontaneously in air at a temperature of 54.4 ˚C or below. This group of chemicals are amongst the most dangerous type of material to store due to their tendency towards spontaneous ignition and must be kept in a temperature controlled store to prevent this.
This is why it is essential to follow the chemical manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of temperature specific storage or consult with an expert such as Chemstore when dealing with unfamiliar chemicals.
There is a full range of temperature control products designed to ensure that your chemicals are kept within their precise temperature ranges despite the ever changing external temperatures.