Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2011 12:56:24 +0000
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: Paul Dover <Paul.Dover**At_Symbol_Here**MONASH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Lithium Aluminium Hydride & friction as an ignition source
In-Reply-To: <a72abe26600941d4930b5660c2f34a16**At_Symbol_Here**VPRK-CASHUB-01.vcp.local>

We had EXACTLY the sam e thing happen to us!

In a review of MSDS 217;s from different companies one (out of four) did mention friction. Our Chemwatch ‘gold’ MSDS, which is meant to be like a ‘revie w’ of suppliers MSDS’s surprisingly did not.< /p>

Not that I’m gla d it happened to you guys, but it does validate our thoughts. One suggestio n was ‘micro pitting’ of the spatula may have had a trace of mo isture which set it off!

Our Hazard Alert can b e found here: d.pdf

Cheers, Paul

___________________________ _________________

Paul Dover
Resources Manager (Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Action)

Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Monash University (Parkville Campus)
381 Royal Parade, Parkville
Victoria 3052, Australia

Tel: In t + 61 3 9903 9551

Fax: In t + 61 3 9903 9143

E-mail: paul.dover**At_Symbol_Here**

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Russell Vernon
Sent: Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:13 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] FW: Lithium Aluminum Hydride & friction as an ignition source

Dear Chemical Safety Exper ts,

One of the labs on our cam pus had a fire when the researcher scraped lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH< sub>4) out of the glass jar in which it was packaged. The LiAlH4 was old and the researcher was using a dry metal spa tula. A quick review of the manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet informed the user of moisture sensitivity but there is no indication of fr iction causing a fire.

The supervising faculty me mber reported personal knowledge that friction can cause ignition of LiAlH< sub>4.

The manufacturer (Sigma-Al drich) of this material was contacted and responded:

From: Gregory Stachowiak [mail to:Gregory.Stachowiak**At_Symbol_Here**] 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, combin ed with the idea that we don't "spread the product out over a large, f lat, combustible surface" is likely why we have never had any issues w ith 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 fi re.

Unfortunately, because we have not had iss ues with this problem, we do not have a specific written procedure for weig hing it, no.

Best regards,
Gregory Stachowiak


Gregory Stachowiak / Scientist, Technical Service Associate
Technical Services
6000 N Teutonia Avenue / Milwaukee WI 53209 / USA
P: (800) 231-8327, x5326 / G regory.Stachowiak**At_Symbol_Here** 89

http://www.chemi  < /span> als/dmt/dmt_synthesis1.shtml            scroll down to step 3:


So it appears likely that friction alone in the presence of air may be able to ignite lithium aluminu m hydride.

You may want to evaluate y our own use and written procedures to prevent this from happening in your w orld.



Russ ell Vernon, Ph.D.

Directo r

Environ mental Health & Safety

Univers ity of California, Riverside

900 Uni versity Ave

Riversi de, CA 92521


Direct (951) 827-5119

Admin ( 951) 827-5528

Fax (95 1) 827-5122

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