Good morning-- I was concerned by this report so I did a little bit of research in our product files. First, is the researcher OK? The warning that lithium aluminum hydride should be handled under argon is long-standing & is on the container labels, not just the MSDS. On Sigma-Aldrich's "oldest" listing of Lithium aluminum hydride (199877), the container labels have indicated that it should be handled under argon since at least 1982. The product # mentioned in the e-mail below, 199877, is advertised & sold as a powder. If the researcher had to scrape it out of the bottle, it was no longer a powder, which seems to me to be indicative of past reaction, that may have been due to exposure to atmospheric moisture. I've sent Russ' e-mail to our MSDS group for evaluation. Beth Beth Shepard / Technical Compliance Specialist Regulatory Compliance 6000 N. Teutonia Ave. / Milwaukee, WI 53209 / USA P: (414) 438-3850, x5471 sigma-aldrich.com Russell Vernon
Sent by: DCHAS-L Discussion List 06/29/2011 07:13 PM Please respond to DCHAS-L Discussion List To DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU cc Subject [DCHAS-L] FW: Lithium Aluminum Hydride & friction as an ignition source Dear Chemical Safety Experts, One of the labs on our campus had a fire when the researcher scraped lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH4) out of the glass jar in which it was packaged. The LiAlH4 was old and the researcher was using a dry metal spatula. A quick review of the manufacturerÕs Material Safety Data Sheet informed the user of moisture sensitivity but there is no indication of friction causing a fire. The supervising faculty member reported personal knowledge that friction can cause ignition of LiAlH4. The manufacturer (Sigma-Aldrich) of this material was contacted and responded: From: Gregory Stachowiak [mailto:Gregory.Stachowiak**At_Symbol_Here**sial.com] On Behalf Of Sigma-Aldrich Technical Service Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 8:17 AM To: Russell Vernon Cc: Chantalle Carver Subject: RE: 199877 -- Lithium Aluminum Hydride Hello again Russell, We do not have any data on-hand suggesting that friction alone could cause ignition, however, all of our handling of this chemical is performed inside a glove bag under a completely inert atmosphere (argon specifically). This inert atmosphere, combined with the idea that we don't "spread the product out over a large, flat, combustible surface" is likely why we have never had any issues with fires starting during the packaging process. As shown by those links, however, such an ignition does appear to be possible. All we can recommend is handling this product under argon in a glove box or a glove bag to minimize the oxygen and moisture contact and therefore minimize the chances of a fire. Unfortunately, because we have not had issues with this problem, we do not have a specific written procedure for weighing it, no. Best regards, Gregory Stachowiak SIGMA-ALDRICH Gregory Stachowiak / Scientist, Technical Service Associate Technical Services 6000 N Teutonia Avenue / Milwaukee WI 53209 / USA P: (800) 231-8327, x5326 / Gregory.Stachowiak**At_Symbol_Here**sial.com sigma-aldrich.com http://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/989 http://www.chemicalbook.com/ChemicalProductProperty_EN_CB7318252.htm http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/dmt/dmt_synthesis1.shtml scroll down to step 3: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/labsafetymanual/cheminfo/lah.htm So it appears likely that friction alone in the presence of air may be able to ignite lithium aluminum hydride. You may want to evaluate your own use and written procedures to prevent this from happening in your world. Sincerely, -Russ Russell Vernon, Ph.D. Director Environmental Health & Safety University of California, Riverside 900 University Ave Riverside, CA 92521 www.ehs.ucr.edu russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**ucr.edu Direct (951) 827-5119 Admin (951) 827-5528 Fax (951) 827-5122 http://www.ucop.edu/riskmgt/uctrips/ This message and any files transmitted with it are the property of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, are confidential, and are intended solely for the use of the person or entity to whom this e-mail is addressed. If you are not one of the named recipient(s) or otherwise have reason to believe that you have received this message in error, please contact the sender and delete this message immediately from your computer. Any other use, retention, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited.
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