ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Compounds that form peroxides include:
  • Ethers and acetals. Especially dangerous are cyclic ethers (e.g., Tetrahydrofuran and dioxane) and ethers derived from primary and secondary alcohols, particularly diisopropyl ether. Ethers having an aromatic group bonded to the oxygen generally do not peroxidize under normal conditions.
  • Compounds containing benzylic hydrogen atoms, especially tertiary hydrogens, (e.g., cumene, tetralin).
  • Compounds containing allylic hydrogens (CH2=CHCH2R), including most alkenes (e.g., cyclohexene, cyclooctene).
  • Ketones, especially cyclic ketones
  • Dienes and vinylacetylenes (e.g., divinylacetylene, butadiene).
  • Paraffinic and alkylaromatic hydrocarbons with tertiary hydrogens (e.g., decalin, methylcyclopentane).
  • Vinyl and vinylidene compounds (e.g., vinyl acetate, vinylidene chloride).
  • Aldehydes (particularly anhydrous acetaldehyde); ketones with an alpha- hydrogen (methyl isobutyl ketone); ureas, amides, lactams.
  • Potassium metal (actually forms the yellow superoxide KO2) and alkali metal amides such as sodium amide.
Peroxidizable Compounds Three Hazard Classification
  • Class A includes compounds that form dangerous explosive peroxides without concentration. These include diisoproply ether, divinylacetylene, vinylidene chloride, potassium metal, and sodium amide.
  • Class B includes compounds that form peroxides but are only dangerous when concentrated by evaporation or distillation. Examples are diethyl ether, dioxane, THF, tetralin, and cyclohexene.
  • Class C includes monomers in which peroxide formation may initiate explosive polymerization. Examples are styrene, butadiene, and vinyl monomers.



BACK to the top of the Glossary Contents List
BACK to the top of the Chemical Contents List