Methane
CH4
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Periodic Chart Incompatibility Chart Atmospheric Chart Reference
General Characteristics Health Hazards Material Recommendations

A colorless, odorless and flammable gas.

A simple asphyxiant Normal materials can be used.
TLV-TWA Flammable Limits DOT Class / Label
None established Flammable 2.1 / Flammable Gas
Molecular Weight Specific Gravity Specific Volume
16.0 0.554 @ 70 F 23.7 cu.ft./lb @ 70 F
CGA Valve Outlet CAS Registry No. UN Number
350 74-82-8 1971
National Stock Number (NSN) Applicable to Methane MIL Spec / Fed Specs
MSDS for Methane


Grade
Part #
Purity Minimum Cylinder
Size
Volume
SCF
Pressure
@ 70 F psig
Comments
Research
477900
99.995% Min. 002 4 1800

None

Ultra High Purity
432600
99.99% Min.
049
044
016
007
LBS
360
300
100
40
2
2400
2000
2000
2000
1800

 

Chemically Pure
403200
99.3%

049
044
016
007
LBS
360
300
100
40
2
2400
2000
2000
2000
1800

None

Technical
405600
99.99% Min.
049
044
016
007
LBS
360
300
100
40
2
2400
2000
2000
2000
1800

None


Uses: Methane - meth - CH4 is a colorless, flammable, nontoxic gas with a sweet, oil type odor. Methane is useful in the testing of gas appliances which are to be used for natural gas areas. It is one of the raw materials used in the production of ethanol, methyl chloride, methylene chloride, and is also used to produce ammonia and actylene. High purity mathane is burned to form a high quality carbon black which is used in a variety of electronic components.

Methane also is produced industrially by the destructive distillation of bituminous coal in the manufacture of coal gas and coke-oven gas. The activated-sludge process of sewage disposal also produces a gas rich in methane.

Methane is the simplest member of the paraffin series of hydrocarbons. Its chemical formula is CH4. It is lighter than air, having a specific gravity of 0.554. It is only slightly soluble in
water. It burns readily in air, forming carbon dioxide and water vapour; the flame is pale, slightly luminous, and very hot. The boiling point of methane is -162.0° C (-259.6° F) and the melting point is -182.5° C (-296.5° F). Methane in general is very stable, but mixtures of methane and air, with the methane content between 5 and 14 percent by volume, are explosive. Explosions of such mixtures have been frequent in coal mines and collieries and have been the cause of many mine disasters.

The chief source of methane is natural gas, which contains from 50 to 90 percent methane, depending on the source. Methane produced by the destructive distillation of bituminous coal and by coal carbonization is important in locations where natural gas is not plentiful.

Since commercial natural gas is composed largely of methane, their uses may for all practical purposes be considered identical. Because of its abundance, low cost, ease of handling, and cleanliness, such gas is widely used as a fuel in homes, commercial establishments, and factories.

Methane is an important source of hydrogen and some organic chemicals. Methane reacts with steam at high temperatures to yield carbon monoxide and hydrogen; the latter is used in the manufacture of ammonia for fertilizers and explosives. Other valuable chemicals derived from methane include methanol, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and nitromethane. The incomplete combustion of methane yields carbon black, which is widely used as a reinforcing agent in rubber used for automobile tires.