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A short recap of our earlier newsletters.......
March 2000 - covered explosives, Class 1, divisions 1.1 to 1.6.
April dealt with gases, i.e., Divisions 2.1 Flammable Gases, 2.2 Non-Flammable Gases, and 2.3 Toxic Gases.
May covered Division 5.1 Oxidizers coinciding with the very sad fourth anniversary of the ValuJet accident in the Florida Everglades in the United States.
In June we did a quick review and offered a few reminders for those who transport dangerous goods/hazardous materials.
In July, we examined Division 5.2, Organic Peroxides with all of the regulators' technical information first and then tried our best to simplify those properties as best we could, hoping that it would not only help you recognize those chemicals but also to alert you to the risks involved in handling this extremely dangerous hazard class and division. We extend our thanks to those people who e-mailed comments to us about this particular division. They shared our lack of enthusiasm for all the technical information gleamed from the regulations and appreciated the brief description pointing out the actual properties in understandable language. At least we hope it was understandable.
We will be adding monthly quizzes as a feature in our websites as well as some of our experiences that demonstrate why dangerous goods go undeclared in transportation. We hope that these articles will be useful to shippers, forwarders, carriers, and less experienced persons involved in management, transportation or enforcement.
Meanwhile, back to the hazard classes....
This month we would like to cover Class 3, Flammable Liquids.
Even this classification
becomes somewhat confusing because of some technical terms that are misunderstood
by persons who ship or transport these liquids. Let us start with some
examples of Flammable Liquids: gasoline, ethanol,
methanol, paint, adhesives, solvents, resin solution, acetone, nail polish,
perfumes and colognes, "pump-type" hair sprays (but not
aerosols), furniture and automotive waxes and polishes, fuel additives,
ethers, flavouring extracts, aromatic extracts, home and industrial heating
oils, alcoholic beverages, cough medicine, some pesticides, medicinal
tinctures, hair tonic, drugs and medicines.
Now, if you can stop laughing for just a minute, the biggest misconception about a bottle of booze is where the manufacturer displays the "proof". The average citizen presumes the word "proof" indicates the amount of pure alcohol in the beverage. Actually it displays the percentage of alcohol, times two. For example, a good brand of scotch usually indicates that it is 80 proof. That number comes from the actual percentage of alcohol (40%) x 2, or, 40x2=80. So, if our favorite beverage is only 40% alcohol (actually ethyl alcohol, a.k.a. ethanol) what else is in the jug, uh, bottle? Since ethanol is totally miscible (the ability of a liquid or gas to dissolve uniformly in another liquid or gas) with water, distilled water represents the highest percentage of the ingredients. Small amounts of coloring and flavouring make up the balance of our product (hic).
In 49CFR Special Provision
24 eliminates the guesswork for alcoholic beverages. It advises that alcoholic
beverages containing more than 70% of alcohol by volume must be assigned
to Packing Group II and beverages containing more than 24% of alcohol
by volume must be assigned to Packing Group III. Alcoholic beverages containing
All of the international regulations have similar rules. For example, under IATA you should refer to the Dangerous Goods List, Section 4.2, which is very detailed, and Special Provisions A9 and A58, in Section 4.4.
And, now, for the rest of the flammable liquids....
Misconception #1: the most frequent reply to the question "what is the meaning of flash point" is that it is the temperature at which a liquid will ignite or explode. WRONG!
FLASH POINT is the minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off ignitable vapors within a test vessel. The test vessel is either an open or a closed cup tester where the temperature of the liquid is strictly controlled. A device at the top of the cup sets off periodic sparks as the temperature of the liquid is increased. When the spark causes a "FLASH" you note the temperature of the liquid and you now have the "flash point", which should be in degrees Celsius. A closed cup test is the type of test required by the United Nations Orange Book and most regulatory agencies and is considered more reliable than an open cup test.
Flash point is all you need to know. WRONG!
As the liquid boils
it reacts similar to water boiling at 100°C. (212 °F) - it turns
For those of you who physically handle dangerous goods, when the drum of a flammable liquid is bulging on the top and the bottom you may have a very dangerous situation unfolding. Don't ignore it!
PACKING GROUP NUMBERS:
For Flammable Liquids,
Class 3, the packing groups are based upon flash point and boiling point.
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