Alcohol volumes

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:Mathew Osborn <> (by way of Histonet) (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


Recently a question was posed regarding the allowable volumes of alcohol
in a lab.  I hope what follows sheds some light on this issue.

Ethanol is classified as a Class IB combustible liquid. Class IB liquids
have a maximum allowable container capacity of 20 liters in "metal (non
approved) or approved plastic containers, safety cans or DOT spec metal

The amount of combustible liquids allowable is determined by the size of
the "laboratory unit". For hospitals with sprinkler systems, per 100 sq.
feet of lab space, Class I, II and IIIA (including IB) flammable liquids
are limited to 4 L (1.1 gallons) not in approved storage containers or
safety cans and 7.5 L (2 gal) total including quantities in storage
cabinets and safety cans. That is, only half of the combustibles in a
can be outside of approved storage containers. Note that there is no
governing total volume except as it pertains to lab area and to

The key definition here is "laboratory unit". Some EH&S officers define
laboratory unit roughly as the space enclosed by fire doors. Thus, for
but the smallest hospitals and labs, there should be few restrictions
because of space-related alcohol volume limitations. As an example, one
Sakura VIP has 21 L of ethanol and 9 L of Xylene (Class IIIA). Assuming
that a tissue processor is not an approved storage container, this means
that the "lab unit" would need to be a minimum of 750 sq. ft. (30x25
for each tissue processor to be "legal" ((30 L  4 L) X 100 sq. ft. ).
a tissue processor that is considered to be an approved storage
then the space requirements are halved.

I hope this helps to answer the question.

If you have concerns or questions about cost effectively recycling these
solvents, please contact me.


Matt Osborn
Product Manager
Naiad Technologies, Inc.

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>