Is Xylene Flammable? Chemical and flammable properties of xylene

Xylene is a hydrocarbon, and all hydrocarbons are reactive! But is xylene flammable and hazardous? 

Yes, xylene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid that must always be handled with caution. Although it releases a sweet odor, it’s hazardous to human bodies too. As xylene has a pretty low flashpoint, it can easily catch fire if it somehow gets heated up. 

Therefore, it’s essential that you know the xylene fire protections and ways to extinguish any possible xylene fire outbreak. So, binge on till the very end of this blog. 

Is Xylene Flammable?

Why Is Xylene So Flammable?

The overall flashpoint of xylene is pretty low (37.8°C), so it’s evident that xylene will be quite flammable. It produces enough vapor that combines with the air to form an ignitable mixture. 

Plus, the autoignition temperature of xylene is around 464°C, making it quite spontaneous to the ignition without even requiring heat sources. 

So, as this autoignition is already comparatively lower than other substances, you can say xylene is prone to ignition if it somehow gets exposed to heat sources. 

These are not the only reasons that make xylene so flammable! As it’s a hydrocarbon (C₈H₁₀), so it only comes with hydrogen and carbon atoms. 

And hydrocarbons are considered highly flammable due to their overall chemical structure and tendency to easily react with oxygen to start a combustion reaction.  

Is Xylene Explosive? An Overview

As mentioned earlier, xylene is highly volatile, especially when exposed to flame or any other heat sources. And there can also be situations when the overall concentration of xylene can drastically increase in the air. During such conditions, if it catches an ignition, this liquid can explode. 

Xylene can become a hazardous explosion if it’s not handled or stored correctly. Even if the pressure where you keep the xylene somehow fluctuates, there are chances that xylene can lead to a severe explosion. 

Is Xylene Explosive

That’s not all; even without proper ventilation, xylene can cause an explosion. This is because, without the right ventilation, the concentration of xylene molecules will increase, making the substance quite prone to explosions. 

So, you must always take proper precautions when handling xylene or even consult an expert if you’re unsure!

What Fire Protection for Xylene Do You Need?

In this section, we’ll give you a detailed insight into the safety precautions you can take to avoid xylene hazards. So, make sure not to skip any of the following points. 

Storing in Cool Containers 

Xylene is highly reactive when exposed to heat or other such sources. So, storing the substance in a dry, cool, and properly ventilated container is one of the best ways to prevent fire hazards. And for extra fire protection, you can also put a warning or flammable sign to indicate the presence of this flammable liquid. 

Moreover, it’s highly recommended that you always store this liquid substance in containers designed only for storing such volatile and explosive liquids. Plus, you must ensure the containers are tightly closed so that there are no chances for the vapor to escape in any way possible. 

Use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

When working with xylene, it’s highly essential that you handle it well and with care. It’s always a must that you have proper PPE, like heat-resistant gloves and eye protection, while handling this liquid. 

These protections can be a lifesaver during sudden mishaps. Plus, avoid keeping fire sources like lighters or anything that can cause a hazard. 

Keep a Fire Extinguisher

You never know when a xylene fire may break out due to certain mishaps. So, to be prepared, it’s mandatory that you keep the right fire extinguisher type in the area. Usually, carbon dioxide or dry chemical fire extinguishers are prepared as they’re more effective when dealing with flammable liquids. 

However, no matter what, never use water to fuel out the liquid flammables, as they’re pretty ineffective and can backfire by spreading the fire! 

How Do You Extinguish a Xylene Fire?

Extinguishing a xylene fire can be tricky, and things can only get complicated without the right process. So, below is the step-by-step process you need to maintain while extinguishing the fire. 

Step-1: You must first call the fire service to ensure no severe hazard occurs, as professionals have the expertise and proper equipment to tackle such a flammable liquid fire.  

Step-2: As you call the fire service, you need to pick up your fire extinguisher to proceed with the extinguishing process. Ensure it’s a Class B extinguisher since these are specifically designed to deal with volatile liquids like xylene. 

Step-3:  Now, carefully move toward the fire and make sure to keep a safe distance. Plus, don’t forget to wear fire protective gear like heat-resistant gloves and gloves. 

Step-4: Once you’re at a safe distance, aim your extinguisher right at the fire base and move back and forth. Keep repeating this process until the xylene fire slowly gets extinguished. 

Step-5: Finally, ventilate the space so that the harmful xylene fumes can escape since these fumes are pretty harmful to the body. 

Note: While proceeding with the xylene fire extinguishment, ensure the area is evacuated except for the ones who are experts at dealing with fluid flames. 

FAQs

1. What is the flammable range of xylene?

The flammable range of xylene is usually above 73°F and below 100°F

2. Can you store xylene in a plastic container? 

Nope! It’s not recommended that you store volatile liquids like xylene in plastic bottles or containers. Instead, use strong containers designed for such reactive liquids. 

3. What’s the minimum xylene ignition energy? 

The minimum xylene ignition energy is 0.2 mJ (millijoule). 

Bottom Line 

So, after going through this blog, you should now have a clear understanding of xylene flammability and how volatile this liquid can be. Moreover, while dealing with xylene fire, ensure you’re careful and follow the steps mentioned. And no matter what, don’t hesitate to call the fire experts as soon as there’s a xylene fire outbreak! 

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