A Quick Reference Guide to Incompatible Laboratory Chemicals

Consequences  of Interaction between Incompatible Materials
Consequences of Interaction between Incompatible Materials

A set of suggestions were provided on storage of laboratory chemicals. Chemicals having similar characteristics such as flammables, acids, bases, corrosives, oxidizing agents and toxics, with some exceptions, can be stored together in a planned sequence. It would be a great help if you are provided a reference chart on common incompatible laboratory chemicals. A quick reference to the chart before planning storage of laboratory chemicals will avoid possible future laboratory mishaps due to close proximity of incompatible materials.

Before you proceed to stock laboratory chemicals it is advisable to keep in mind two important guidelines in mind.Firstly store only minimal quantities of hazardous quantities in the laboratory.Excees quantities should be stocked in separate space which should be well ventilated and equipped with emergency handling measures.

Secondly, do not use any available space in fume hood for storing hazardous chemicals as a fume hood is not meant to be a storage cabinet.Cluttering of available space in the fume hood will reduce the efficiency of the fume hood to remove harmful vapours and gases by restricting free air flow through it.

A ready reference chart on incompatible materials is provide below

ChemicalIncompatibility with
Acetic AcidChromic acid, Nitric acid,Ethylene glycol,Perchloric acid,Peroxides, Permanganates
AcetyleneCopper, Chlorine, Bromine, Fluorine,Silver, Mercury
AcetoneConcentrated Nitric acid and Sulphuric acid mixtures
AmmoniaMercury,Chlorine,Bromine, Iodine , Hydrofluoric acid
AnilineNitric acid , Hydrogen peroxide
CopperAcetylene,Hydrogen peroxide
Flammable LiquidsAmmonium nitrate,Nitric acid, Chromic acid,Hydrogen Peroxide, Halogens
HydrocarbonsHalogens,Chromic acid,Sodium Peroxide
Hydrocyanic acidNitric acid,alkalis
HypochloritesActivated Carbon, Acids
IodineAcetylene, Ammonia
MercuryAcetylene,Fulminic acid,Ammonia
 Nitric acidAniline,Acetic acid,Hydrocyanic acid, Copper, Brass
 Oxalic acid Silver, Mercury
 Oxygen Oils, Grease,Hydrogen, Flammable liquids
 Perchloric acid Paper, Wood,Grease, Oils,Acetic acid,Alcohols
 Peroxides Acids
 Phosphorus white Air, Oxygen,Alkalies,Reducing agents
 Potassium permanganate Glycerol, Ethylene glycol, Sulphuric acid,Benzaldehyde
 Sodium Water,Carbon dioxide,Carbon tetrachloride
 Silver Acetylene,Oxalic acid,Tartaric acid,Ammonium compounds,Fulminic acid
 Sulphides Acids
 Sulphuric acidPotassium permanganate, Potassium perchlorate,Potassium chlorate

Apart from the tabulated information do consult the Material Safety Data Sheet of specific chemicals whenever in doubt.

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