flammable vs inflammable slightly OT

From:louise renton

Dear all

This is not to nitpick, but to clarify the definition of these 2 words. 
According to the Cambridge dictionary, BOTH flammable and inflammable mean 
the same thing -  ie. to catch fire easily. NON- flammable is the opposite.

Using the wrong word in an ambiguous sistaution could have had dire 
consequences. Bear in mind that many of our respondents do not speak  
English as a first language and are possibly not aware that the prefix "in" 
does not always signify the antonym of a particular word.

Best regards

Louise Renton
Bone Research Unit
South Africa
Tel & fax +27 11 717 2298
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana"

----Original Message Follows----
From: Gordon Couger 
To: carmen loiselle , 
Subject: Re: Isopentane
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 01:30:16 -0500

Storing Isopentane in pressure vessels made from modified pressure cookers
or having some manufactured for you should solve the vapor problem. All you
would need is to find a suitable seal material and replace the vent with a
vale to equalize the pressure when you open the container. The pressures are
mild if you don't over fill the containers there should be no problems. With
the extreme change in temperatures a stainless steel with a low coefficient
of thermal expansion would be a good idea to save scuffing on the seals and
cracks in the metal if you where having them built.

A explosive vapor detector should be put in the freezer and the room the
freezer is in. Building gas tight vents to house the freezers and other
equipment in the room could make it safer as could increasing the air
exchange in the room.

You can make almost anything save to work with.

Flushing isopentane down the drain is not a good idea it vaporizes in the
sewer and form an explosive mixture. An extreme example is  Pmex had a
gasoline leak in the Guadalajara sewers
http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/Localized/sewer.htm Your small amount wont
do that much damage but explosive gases are not save.

I don't know how the safety Nazis would have you get rid ot it but pouring
small amounts of it in a pan of sand and setting on fire on a still day on
an inflammable surface  is safe way to get rid almost anything including
nitro glycerin. Some good sense is required. I am sure it is total
unacceptable today. A controlled feed into a flame is also a safe way to get
rid of many flammable substances. Once they burn they are no longer

Today I am sure that someone will pick it up for you for 2 dollars a pound
and take it out and pour it on sand and burn it for you.

Good luck
Gordon Couger
Stillwater, OK
----- Original Message -----
From: "carmen loiselle" 
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 11:13 AM
Subject: Isopentane

: After reading few of the messages sent about the isopentane, I have to say
: that I'm very concern.  We have a deep freezer in our lab in which, half
: it , contains  containers fill with isopentane.   Specimens embedded in
: are stored in vials containing isopentane, in different levels.  I told my
: supervisor about my concerns (specially after viewing the damage done in
: Arkansas lab), saying that we should change our storage habit.  She agreed
: and suggest, decanting the isopentane into a metal container, leaving the
: specimen wrapped in aluminium foil in a cryovial (at -80C).   Then dispose
: the isopentane by flushing it down the drain with running warm water.
: it seems to you, the right way to do it ??  How about the environment ??
: A very concern lab tech .
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