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Pyrophoric Chemicals

Pyrophoric materials are substances that ignite instantly upon exposure to oxygen. They can also be water-reactive, where heat and hydrogen (a flammable gas) are produced. Other common hazards include corrosivity, teratogenicity, and organic peroxide formation, along with damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Examples of such materials include metal hydrides, finely divided metal powders, nonmetal hydride and alkyl compounds, white phosphorus, alloy of reactive materials and organometallic compounds, including alkyllithiums.

Purdue REM Site for Pyrophoric Materials

Examples of Pyrophoric/Water Reactive Materials:

  • Grignard Reagents: RMgX (where R=alkyl, X=halogen)
  • Metal alkyls and aryls: RLi, RNa, R3Al, R2Zn
  • Metal carbonyls: Lithium carbonyl, nickel tetracarbonyl Ni(CO)4, Fe(CO)5, Co2(CO)8
  • Metal powders (finely divided): Al, Ca, Co, Fe, Mg, Mn, Pd, Pt, Ti, Sn, Zn, Zr
  • Metal hydrides: Sodium hydride, lithium aluminum hydride (NaH, LiAlH4 )
  • Nonmetal hydrides: Diethylarsine, diethylphosphine, B2H6 and other boranes, PH3, AsH3
  • Non-metal alkyls: R3B, R3P, R3As; tetramethyl silane, tributyl phosphine
  • White and red Phosphorus
  • Group I (Alkali) metals: Lithium, potassium, sodium, sodium-potassium alloy (NaK), rubidium, cesium, francium
  • Gases: Silane, dichlorosilane, diborane, phosphine, arsine

The Pyrophoric Chemical List will download an Excel file that lists over 450 pyrophilic materials. It contains three tabs, located on the bottom, to get to each of the three page lists.