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Q & A: low boiling points

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Most recent answer: 05/04/2011
Q:
Are there any common oils with low boiling (not smoke) points? Say under 150 C? If there aren't any, are there any NON TOXIC, non-polar liquids that boil under 150 Celsius?
- Ian Babcock (age 16)
MISSION VIEJO California United States
A:
Certainly. Liquid nitrogen boils at around -196 C. It's nontoxic (air is ~80% nitrogen) and non-polar. Is there a narrower range of boiling points that you're after?  (I suspect you want something between 22C and 150C, but I'm evading answering that because I can't think of something offhand. Bromine, for example, is somewhat toxic.)

Mike W.

OK, n-pentane () is non-polar and boils at 36C. It doesn't quite pass the toxicity test, however, and also is a major explosive hazard. From a standard data sheet:

"Stability: Stable. Incompatible with oxidizing agents, halogens. Highly flammable. Readily forms explosive mixtures with air.

Toxicology:
Harmful by inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption. Irritant. Narcotic in high concentration."

(published on 05/04/2011)

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