Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 13:57:53 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Neil Edwards <Neil.Edwards**At_Symbol_Here**LIU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Explosion Proof Refrigerator Storage

Although I have heard of converting an ordinary refrigerator to one that 
would be safe for flammable storage, I would not recommend doing so. I 
think it is far more prudent to purchase a refrigerator that has been 
designed with the appropriate safety features for your purpose.

The distinction between flammable and explosion-proof refrigerators lies 
in the fact that, while both are safe for storage of flammable liquids 
(because there is no open ignition source inside the refrigerator), the 
explosion-proof variety gives an added measure of safety by having its 
EXTERNAL sources of ignition sealed (e.g., the compressor), so that 
there is no chance of causing a fire or explosion if there are flammable 
vapors immediately OUTSIDE the refrigerator. In many situations, the 
considerable extra expense is not justified. In addition, an 
explosion-proof refrigerator must be hard-wired to a sealed connection 
to electrical power; it cannot simply be plugged into an outlet; so 
there is additional expense to accomplish this as well.

Neil Edwards
Laboratory Manager
Department of Chemistry
Long Island University - C. W. Post Campus

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List on behalf of Don Abramowitz
Sent: Fri 7/30/2010 1:01 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Explosion Proof Refrigerator Storage
Generally, it is not necessary to store flammable liquids in an 
explosion proof refrigerator. Flammable liquid cabinets are ideal for 
ordinary storage. Your reference to 37.8 degrees C seems to correspond 
to the definition of a flammable liquid (a liquid with a flash point at 
or below 100 degrees F). I've never seen that as a criteria for deciding 
what materials require refrigeration. (Flashpoint is simply the 
temperature at which a solvent gives off enough vapor that it can be 
ignited with a spark and continue to burn. Gasoline has a flash point 
well below zero, and it rests comfortably in our car gas tanks on hot 

Explosion proof refrigerators come into play when you decide, for 
whatever reason, that you want to refrigerate flammable liquids. This is 
because putting flammable liquids in a regular refrigerators creates an 
ignition hazard. 

I don't know of anyone who converts regular refrigerators to explosion 
proof ones. For an ordinary stockroom situation, I see no need to store 
all of your flammable solvents under refrigeration. 


Donald Abramowitz 
Environmental Health & Safety Officer 
Bryn Mawr College 
Bryn Mawr, PA 

We are in the process of annual review of our chemical inventory and I 
was hoping to get some help with the specific guidelines of what 
chemicals must be stored in our explosion proof refrigerator. I have 
read several resources that indicate a flashpoint of 37.8C is the cut 
off however this covers a lot of lab solvents and I would not have 
enough room. Our acetone for example is stored in our vented flammable 
cabinets. Does anyone know of a site which gives detailed information on 
refrigerator storage. Also our stockroom only has an explosion proof 
refrigerator and vented flammable cabinets we have no "Flammable" 
refrigerators available. 
Does anyone in the Chicago area know of a company that can convert our 
household refrigerators into flammable ones? As always thank you all in 
advanc for the help. 

Kathleen Schmidt-Nebril, NRCC-CHO 
Chemistry Division Department of Natural Science 
Dominican University 
River Forest, IL 60305 

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