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Butane Safety

Hi ya'll! Have ya'll been watching the folks blowing themselves and their homes up using butane extraction techniques, thus leading you to believe that such an attempt is suicidal?

Thank Gawd (Great Spirit) that paying attention to details reduces the odds to limits that you might embrace, after being thus enlightened. May we discuss, before you give up all BHO extraction attempts in deference to your family and home?

Clearly Butane is inflammable and can be explosive, if confined in a small space and supplied with about 1.86 to 8.41 percent butane to atmospheric air content and an ignition source.

In addition, ignition sources come from a number of different unexpected sources, so let's discuss that issue.

For starters, I never personally do a butane extraction indoors or any confined space! None at all, zero, zip, forget about it! It is important to keep it below explosive limits!

I do it all outdoors, with a non sparking plastic fan blowing, not sucking, the butane evaporation away! Butane loves self abuse and will clump together and pool, being that it is heavier than air.

I use three fans to keep any free butane dispersed below ignition limits of 1.86% and from it pooling and accumulating in low spots like through my basement window to my basement, chock full of ignition sources.

The central point is that concentration of the butane boiling off can be kept diluted below combustion limits, by blowing the accumulating vapors away using a fan.

Butane liquid expands 288:1 when changing from a liquid to a vapor, and Henry's law tells us that the butane vapor and the air it combines with at 1.86%, expands in direct proportion to their temperature change. Butane in open air has a flame temperature of 1970C/3578F, so for instance if the butane vapor ignited at an ambient temperature of 291 Kelvin (18C/65F), it would expand about 7.2 times.

A 300 ml can of butane occupies about 18 cubic inches, X 288 = 5184 cubic inches.

5184 cubic inches divided by .00186 mixture = 2,787,097 cubic inches

2,787,097 X 7.2 = 20,067,098 cubic inches, or 11,613 cubic feet. With 8 foot ceilings, that is a 1452 square foot house. That expansion occurs in the blink of an eye, so you can see why a room incapable of containing a 1452 square foot house would have to expand its ceiling and walls outward to accommodate it.

It also doesn't take much imagination to realize what 3578F flame temperature does to organic matter like skin and eyeballs, so except for the prestige of having been immolated, it has little to recommend it.

Secondly, let's talk about stupid ignition sources. Despite previous discussions, I have literally grabbed the hands of cigarette smokers poised to light a cigarette while extracting. What can I say about addicts whom go on automatic pilot and forget where they are? Leave your cigarettes and lighter elsewhere.

Lose the lighter and cigarettes (bong?) if you are an addict! Once the pin is pulled on a 5 second grenade, it is not your friend!

All pretty simple, but lets talk about subtleties! How about sparks?

Starting simple, dragging your feet on concrete with gravel imbedded in your shoes can create a spark.

Wearing plastic clothing, especially socks, can also build up and discharge a static electricity spark, especially on cold dry days.

Unless it is an explosion proof fan, always blow, instead of suck the vapors away, not only for efficiency reasons, but because the sparks from an electric motor slip ring can ignite the vapors.

Always use plastic or other spark proof blades, because a grain of sand can spark when hitting a steel blade, and be propelled into the concentrated vapors.

Always keep a fully charged and recently inspected fire extinguisher on hand. Shit sometimes happens and less shit is better, as I see it!

Never had to use one at home, though I have in industry, and they can't be beaten when they are called for!

If you get inadvertently sprayed with butane, stop, and go change clothes. Immolating as I sees it, is highly overrated!

Keep a blanket on hand, and if you do get unexpectedly ignited, immediately wrap yourself in it to extinguish the flames.

The good news is that none of the above has ever happened to me, or any of my friends who pay close attention and try their very best to avoid it.

Ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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31 Comments

  1. Gage

    I have created a prototype of a Pyro System but cannot seem to get the ignition source to, well, ignite the Butane. I use a nozzle from a grill lighter to chanel the Butane and a 7kv electric spark for the ignition. The spark does not ignite the Butane when it directly hits the nozzle, nor does it ignite it when arching over the nozzle. So my proposed question to you is how can I make the spark ignite the Butane? Would I need to have a larger nozzle or a larger spark? The fuel source is a butane refill canister.

    Reply       Edit
    1. Skunk Pharm Research,LLC

      You need to work on mixture. Butane is flammable between about 1.8 and 8.4%. Below 1.8% it is too lean and above 8.4% it is too rich. GW

      Reply
  2. john davis

    ricardomontalbanthe3rd, your a fuking idiot sahitforbrains, Boffo is a 1920's word for way cool, stick it up your ass dikwad and leave me alone.stop posting your lying BS on facebook and hash church you fuking nitwit. and I mean this in the nicest way possible. STFU

    Reply       Edit
  3. Robert

    Still studying, but noted an simple mathamatic error in your post. 1.86% is not a devider by 0.00186 but 0.0186. So an 300 ml butane will saturate at 1.86% an 161 square feet (about 4 feet wide, 5 feet deep, 8 feet high) room which will expand 7.2 times at ignition. The pressure wil dislocate door, windows and even damage walls, but the heat will generally cause the most serious injuries.

    Reply       Edit
  4. mylkingtreez

    Hello GW, Question for YA. When flushing system with INERT gas(you recommend Nitrogen) any reason I cannot use CO2? Vapor not liquid. Purpose for this is to displace O2 with a non combustionable gas. I cannot see a reason not to use it. That's why I'm asking!

    Reply       Edit
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