Is Benzene Flammable? (Can It Catch Fire?)

Benzene is among the most commonly produced chemicals on the planet and precisely among the top 20 most manufactured chemicals in the U.S. It is a colorless liquid that has a nice smell.

It disappears quickly into the atmosphere and partially digests in water. You can’t see it as a household item even though it is used in detergents, explosives, etc. But is it something to be very careful about? Is Benzene flammable?

Yes, it is a highly flammable liquid. It can also be combustible when it comes in contact with heat, an ignition source, an open flame, or a spark.

Benzene has a flashpoint of 11.07 degrees Fahrenheit (-11.63 degrees Celsius), showing that it will combust easily in most ambient temperatures.

What Is Benzene?

Also known as benzol, coal naphtha, cyclohexatriene, phenyl hydride, pyrobenzol, etc., Benzene is a pure, colorless, light yellow, nice-smelling liquid at room temperature.

It is very harmful if inhaled, enters the skin, or consumed. It is also a carcinogenic substance; hence, you should apply adequate care when using it to avoid health risks.

Benzene becomes solid when it goes below 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 degrees Celsius) and can react aggressively with oxidants and halogens to cause a potential explosion.

You can use Benzene to produce other chemicals used to make industrial materials like dyes, detergents, explosives, pesticides, synthetic rubber, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

You can also find it (Benzene) in gasoline and little amounts in cigarette smoke. Benzene has been restricted from being used in producing products for home use like toys. People with an easy sense of smell can start perceiving Benzene in the atmosphere at 1.5 to 4.7 ppm.

The odor threshold gives you a perfect warning for indirect hazardous exposure concentrations but is not ideal for more open exposures.

Its vapors can also produce explosive mixtures in the atmosphere. Run-off to sewers can cause explosion hazards. Be careful of its canisters, as they may explode if heated.

Is Benzene Flammable?

Yes, Benzene is highly flammable and combustible. It has a flashpoint of 11.07 degrees Fahrenheit (-11.63 degrees Celsius), which means it can easily contract flames. Heat, sparks, or flames will easily ignite its agent.

You will also need to be careful, as the resulting fire will create irritating, corrosive, and toxic gases and can combine violently with oxidants and halogens to initiate a fire hazard. Again, since it has a very low flashpoint, even using water spray to quench it will prove abortive.

Generally, it is a very flammable liquid, capable of catching fire easily at relatively low temperatures, which is the key to flammable liquids, according to OSHA. Benzene emits vapors heavier than air and can cover a huge distance toward an ignition source to cause a flashback.

What Is the Flashpoint of Benzene?

Benzene has a flashpoint of 11.07 degrees Fahrenheit (-11.63 degrees Celsius) and is way above its average room temperature or even storage temperatures in large parts of the planet.

But fortunately, it will not combust spontaneously before it reaches a much-increased temperature.

What Is Benzene Auto-Ignition Point?

The auto-ignition temperature of any substance, also known as its kindling point, refers to the lowest temperature at which it spontaneously combusts in an average atmosphere in the absence of an external source of ignition, like a flame or spark. 

This temperature is needed to provide the activation energy required for ignition. Going by the above, the auto-ignition of Benzene is around 928 degrees Fahrenheit (497.78 degrees Celsius). At this rate, it can automatically combust without any external ignition source.

Note: The boiling point for Benzene stands at 80.1 degrees Celsius.

Is Benzene Hazardous?

Going by everything we have discussed; it is clear that Benzene can be very hazardous.

Even though Benzene is used as an ingredient in most products that we use today, we shouldn’t shy away from the fact that it remains a hazardous chemical, and the consequences of exposing it to any heat source can be very disastrous.

Is Benzene Poisonous?

Most of the things that could result in hazardous explosions can also be harmful to human health.

If it is first exposed to the skin or eyes or inhaled, it could result in a moderate to severe irritation. Again, it could develop from irritation to burns, swelling, and skin redness. 

Any contact with the eye will cause tears to flow out and leave them sore and red. If you inhale Benzene, it could result in nose and throat irritation and even coughing.

A severe case could damage your nervous system, cause nausea, confusion, headaches, dizziness, laziness, or tiredness, and even make you pass out.

We would also not advise you to consume Benzene, as it is even more disastrous than its inhalation. However, inhalation can be very dangerous; if it gets drawn into your lungs, it can cause severe damage and even death.

It is very toxic if exposed to the skin for a long time and could lead to exposure and destroy the blood cells and the immune system. Again, Benzene is a popular carcinogen; hence, long-term exposure to it can lead to blood cancers.

And then, there is the mutagen. It means a compound that causes genetic damage, and if a potential parent gets exposed to Benzene, their child might be born with damaged genes in the long run.

What Is The Possible Solution If You’re Exposed to Benzene?

Its remedy depends on how you are exposed. For instance, for inhalation, you solve it by removing any possible ignition sources and taking adequate protective measures for yourself before intervening.

After that, you can take the affected person into the fresh air before contacting the clinic for medical care.

For skin exposure, remove any material or cloth on the areas affected and wash with water for, say, 20 minutes. If irritation or pain continues, contact health care for medical attention. Double bag the clothing, indicate it properly, and then allow them for proper disposal.

For eye exposure, grab the eyelids of the affected person open and wash them for like 15 minutes using calm flowing water. Avoid getting rid of any contact lenses. If irritation or pain persists after washing, you can take the person for medical care.

For someone that consumes or drinks it, rinse their mouth using clean water. If the patient throws up, help them lean forward because it will help prevent the chemical from going all the way to their lungs. Make sure they rinse their mouth anytime they throw up. Then, you can contact a doctor for further medical attention.

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