Not all compatibility schemes are created equal; some are clueless. I didn’t find a hint of this in the NFPA 491 or Brethericks handbook. It may be that someone’s search of industrial accidents turned up an account where these two were involved but other ingredients caused the reaction, or whatever it was. Esterification is about the only possibility and that doesn’t yield much energy anyway. Looking at energy per heat capacity of ingredients may show a temperature rise but in lab scale mixing and especially spill mixing on a floor or bench top, this is far from a hazard.
I wouldn’t try to guess what the xylene-acetic acid (or was that ethylene glycol?) problem could be.
It’s best to look at the exciting materials first; strong oxidizers, strong (non-aqueous) acids and reactive water reactive chemicals. Locate those separately first.
I received a question about storage of ethylene glycol and noticed that a lot of sources specifically mention that ethylene glycol and glacial acetic acid are incompatible. Can anyone explain why? I ran this question past our synthesis group and they were of the opinion that in order to get a reaction even with lighter alcohols, the mixture would need to be heated. Is this an error that has crept into the literature? I also found a recommendation to store away from xylene. That has me really puzzled.
My recommendations were to store with other organic acids or to store in secondary containment away from bases and oxidizers.
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