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For example, gasoline has a flash point of approximately -40 degrees C (-40 F) and is more flammable than ethylene glycol (antifreeze) which has a flash point of 111 degrees C (232 F) in closed cup tests (see below).
Other agencies and sections of the U.S. Code may specify alternative methods, but the general concept is similar in each case.
Two general methods are called closed-cup and open-cup. The closed-cup method prevents vapors from escaping and therefore usually results in a flash point that is a few degrees lower than in an open cup. Because the two methods give different results, one must always list the testing method when listing the flash point. Example: 110 oC (closed cup).
OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.106 standard discusses the methods in some detail:
Chemical storage cabinets and more at Safety Emporium.
(a)(14)(i) For a liquid which has a viscosity of less than 45 SUS at 100 deg. F. (37.8 deg. C.), does not contain suspended solids, and does not have a tendency to form a surface film while under test, the procedure specified in the Standard Method of Test for Flash point by Tag Closed Tester (ASTM D-56-70), which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6, shall be used.
(a)(14)(ii) For a liquid which has a viscosity of 45 SUS or more at 100 deg. F. (37.8 deg. C.), or contains suspended solids, or has a tendency to form a surface film while under test, the Standard Method of Test for Flash point by Pensky-Martens Closed Tester (ASTM D-93-10) shall be used, except that the methods specified in Note 1 to section 1.1 of ASTM D-93-10 may be used for the respective materials specified in the Note. The preceding ASTM standards are incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6.
(a)(14)(iii) For a liquid that is a mixture of compounds that have different volatilities and flash points, its flash point shall be determined by using the procedure specified in paragraph (a)(14) (i) or (ii) of this section on the liquid in the form it is shipped. If the flash point, as determined by this test, is 100 deg. F. (37.8 deg. C.) or higher, an additional flash point determination shall be run on a sample of the liquid evaporated to 90 percent of its original volume, and the lower value of the two tests shall be considered the flash point of the material.
If you do not want to buy your own equipment, simply consult your local phone directory under "Laboratory, Testing" or a similar heading to find a company that can run a flash point determination for you. Or check the ASTM testing lab directory.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate, however ILPI makes no guarantees concerning the veracity of any statement. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. ILPI strongly encourages the reader to consult the appropriate local, state and federal agencies concerning the matters discussed herein.