Frequently Asked Questions about Methanol

Methanex encourages the safe and proper use of methanol by all people who handle or use this product. These are some of the frequently asked question about important aspects of methanol handling and usage.

In case of methanol poisoning/ingestion, should vomiting be induced if medical attention cannot be obtained immediately?
In case of methanol ingestion, vomiting should NOT be induced. This is consistent with advice from healthcare professionals. Vomiting can result in aspiration of the regurgitated material into the respiratory system, and could cause choking or asphyxiation, as well as possibly introducing methanol into another part of the body (lungs). Take the victim for medical attention immediately.

What materials are compatible with methanol?
Pure methanol is non-corrosive to most metals (not including lead, magnesium and platinum) at ambient temperatures. However, coatings of copper (or copper alloys), zinc (including galvanized steel) or aluminum are attacked at high temperatures and more slowly at ambient temperatures. Stainless steel and carbon steel are typically used in Methanex plants.

Plastics are generally not recommended for storage purposes due to long-term deterioration of the material and the subsequent risk of methanol contamination.

Many resins, nylons and rubbers, particularly nitrile (Buna-N), ethylene-propylene, teflon and neoprene are used satisfactorily as components of equipment in methanol service.

What is the shelf life/stability of methanol?
Without interference from or interaction with external contaminants, methanol will not deteriorate or decompose, thus the shelf life would be indefinite. Problems arise if the product is not protected from exposure to contamination, including exposure to the atmosphere.

For example, methanol is very hygroscopic, i.e., it readily absorbs moisture. So if the product is open to the atmosphere, it will absorb moisture directly from the air.

Also, methanol is an excellent solvent, so it is very important that it be stored in a container of an appropriate material. For example, methanol will dissolve plasticizers in some plastics.

Properly sealed and protected methanol should maintain its integrity for a very long time.

Does Methanex methanol have a specification or code number?
Methanex methanol does not have a code number. The specification is described in the Methanex Methanol Sales Spec (IMPCA). Methanol has a chemical abstract number (CAS) of 67-56-1.

Is methanol considered hazardous by Canadian WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) regulations?
Yes.

What is the weight per gallon/density of methanol?
"Density" or weight per gallon of pure methanol is 6.63 lbs/US gallon.

If you have a technical question about methanol please email it to publicaffairs@methanex.com.

 

 
 

This page was last updated on September 13, 2011.

Methanex and Methanol

Do you want to learn more about how methanol is made? Well, we have your answers in our Methanol Learning Centre.