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Hypergolic

Definition

A hypergolic mixture ignites upon contact of the components without any external source of ignition (heat or flame).

There are relatively few instances where this is a desirable event...unless you're a rocket scientist or weapons designer.

SDS Relevance

Accidental mixing of incompatible materials can lead to a fire or explosion. Here's one example witnessed by the staff at ILPI of what can happen when incompatibles are mixed.

Consult the Safety Data Sheets for the materials you are working with and carefully check Section 10 which should list any potentially hazardous reactions or incompatibilities with other materials.

Always read the labels on your bottles (don't assume a chemical's identity by the shape, size or color of the bottle). This is especially true for waste bottles. We at ILPI have personally witnessed several hypergolic reactions caused when laboratory workers have accidentally mixed nitric acid and organic solvents in waste bottles. It's terrifying and can have life-threatening consequences. Here's a safety handout from Tufts University titled Laboratory Accidents/Explosions Involving Nitric Acid and an Organic Solvent and you can find dozens of reports on similar incidents, along with lessons learned and safety advice, with a quick Google search.

Further Reading

DOT 1.2B Explosives Placard

Be sure you're in compliance with DOT placards and labels from Safety Emporium.

See also: explosive, flammable.

Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.



Entry last updated: Saturday, February 15, 2020. This page is copyright 2000-2021 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

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.