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Safety Basics & RAMP

Incompatible Chemicals
Many chemicals are incompatible with each other.

According to Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students [PDF], by Robert H. Hill and David
C. Finster:

Incompatible chemicals are combinations of substances, usually in

concentrated form, that react with each other to produce very exothermic
reactions that can be violent and explosive and/or can release toxic substances,
usually as gases.

Care should be taken when handling, storing, or disposing of chemicals in combination.

Below is a short list of common laboratory chemicals and the substances with which they
are incompatible.

Incompatible Chemicals
Chemical  Incompatible with

Acetic acid nitric acid, peroxides, permanganates

Acetic anhydride ethylene glycol, hydroxyl-group-containing compounds

Acetone hydrogen peroxide

Ammonium nitrate acids, flammable liquids, powdered metals, finely divided organic
or combustible materials

Chlorate salts, such as sodium acids, ammonium salts, metal powders, finely divided organic or
or potassium chlorate combustible materials
Chlorine ammonia, butane, hydrogen, turpentine, finely divided metals

Copper hydrogen peroxide

Hydrocarbons bromine, chlorine, peroxides

Hydrogen peroxide combustible materials, copper, iron, most metals and their salts,
any flammable liquid

Iodine Ammonia

Nitric acid, concentrated acetic acid, acetone, alcohol, flammable substances, such as
organic chemicals
Note:  There have been many explosions from inappropriate or
inadvertent mixing of nitric acid with organic chemicals in waste

Oxalic acid silver, mercury

Oxygen flammable materials, hydrogen, oils

Phosphorus, white air, oxygen

Potassium permanganate ethylene glycol, glycerol, sulfuric acid

Sodium (alkali metals: lithium, arbon dioxide, water, alcohols

sodium, and potassium)

Sodium nitrite ammonium salts

Sulfuric acid chlorates, perchlorates, permanganates