Handling Pyrophoric Reagents

Handling Pyrophoric Reagents


various containers

Fig. 1 Pyrophoric reagents may be packed in a variety of containers.


Due to the hazardous nature of pyrophoric reagents, we strongly recommend that all users read this bulletin carefully and completely before starting any actual laboratory work. If you are unsure of any of these procedures or if you need assistance, please contact us prior to use.

All users of these reagents must be fully qualified and experienced laboratory workers to handle pyrophoric reagents without problems. All users must be made aware of the very hazardous nature of these products.

Users must have read and understood our Technical Information Bulletin No. AL-134 which describes standard syringe and double-tipped-needle transfer techniques before attempting to handle liquid pyrophoric reagents (see Fig. 2).

transfer of pyrophoric liquid showing nitrogen, flex-needle, and tube to bubbler

Fig. 2 Double-tipped needle transfer of pyrophoric liquid


Pyrophoric reagents are extremely reactive toward oxygen and in most cases, water, and must never be exposed to the atmosphere. Failure to follow proper handling techniques could result in serious injury. Exposure of these reagents to air could result in spontaneous combustion, which could cause serious burns or other injuries to the person handling the reagent or others in the immediate area.

In addition, all combustible materials, including paper products, should not be allowed to come in contact with any pyrophoric reagent at any time.

metal protective container

Fig. 3

metal protective containers

Fig. 4

NOTE: The metal can in which each bottle is shipped should be retained as a protective container for transporting and storing the bottle of reagent.


Pyrophoric reagents can be handled and stored safely as long as all exposure to atmospheric oxygen and moisture is avoided. Solids must be transferred under an inert atmosphere in an efficient glove box. Liquids may be safely transferred without the use of a glove box by employing techniques and equipment discussed in our Technical Information Bulletin AL-134.

Again, users must have read and understood the accompanying Technical Bulletin AL-134 (call us immediately for a copy if yours has been misplaced), before attempting to handle liquid pyrophoric reagents.

Glass bottles of pyrophoric reagents should not be handled or stored unprotected. The metal can shipped with each bottle should be retained as a protective container for each bottle for transporting and storage (see Fig. 3 and 4).


Powdered lime should be used to completely smother and cover any spill that occurs.

A container of powdered lime should be kept within arm’s length when working with a pyrophoric material.


We feel that the user of the reagent is the person most familiar with the contents and should accept the responsibility for safe disposal of the empty container.

A container with any residual material MUST NEVER be opened to the atmosphere. The last traces of reagent must be removed and should be used completely for a chemical reaction; however, if unused and unwanted material must be destroyed, it must be transferred to an appropriate reaction flask for hydrolysis and/or neutralization with adequate cooling.

The essentially empty container is then rinsed three times with an inert dry solvent; this rinse solvent must also be neutralized or hydrolyzed. The solvent must be added to and removed from the container under an inert atmosphere. After adding each rinse, the container is swirled or shaken. The best solvent to use is the same solvent used for the solution of the original reagent. If the container originally contained a neat reagent, then use a solvent which is completely inert and unreactive toward the reagent.

After the triple rinse is complete, the container is opened to the atmosphere at a safe location, preferably outdoors or, AT A MINIMUM, IN THE BACK OF A HOOD. After allowing the container to be exposed to the atmosphere for at least a week, the container must be triple-rinsed with water before disposal.

This hazard sheet must remain with the container at all times. If you have any questions, please contact us

AtmosBag–A controlled-atmosphere chamber


Two-hand AtmosBagThe Aldrich AtmosBag is a 0.003-in. gauge PE bag that can be sealed, purged, and inflated with an appropriate inert gas, creating a portable, convenient, and inexpensive “glove box” for handling air- and moisture-sensitive, as well as toxic, materials. Other applications include dust-free operations, controlled-atmosphere habitat, and, for the ethylene oxide-treated AtmosBag, immunological and microbiological studies. Small AtmosBags have one inlet per side. Includes instructions.

Two-hand AtmosBag shown here with Benchrack lattice system.

Two-hand AtmosBag
Uninflated dimensions (in.)      
Size Opening Width length inflated volume cat. no. ethylene oxide-treated
cat. no.
S 12


30 3,000 (50L) Z11,283-6 Z11,837-0



24 48 17,000 (280L) Z11,282-8 Z11,836-2
L 36 36 58 32,000 (520L) Z10,608-9 Z11,835-4


Sealing tape
PP, 3in. x 60yd. Z10,692-5

Bench-top base
Rigid PE, Fin. thick. Keeps AtmosBag in place. Fits inside respective bag.

S     11 x 16in.     Z11,286-0
M     20 x 16in.    Z11,285-2
L      24 x 34Fin.  Z10,691-7

Cotton glove liners
Medium weight 100% cotton form fitting, disposable style. Ambidextrous. Each package contains 12 pairs. 8in. L.
S/M       Z11,833-8
M/L       Z11,834-6

Lattice rods
Aluminum. M o.d. x 11Jin. L.
Sections screw together for extra height. Z22,566-5

CAUTION: Always handle toxic materials in a hood or other controlled system to prevent and protect against exposure in case of leakage. All products made of PE may tear, break, or puncture. To assure that air-sensitive materials do not become exposed to air, follow instructions on package; also test and monitor AtmosBag for leaks before and during use


Aldrich Chemical Company, Inc.
1001 West Saint Paul Ave.,
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Telephone: 414-273-3850 / 800-231-8327
Fax: 414-273-4979 / 800-962-9591
TWX: 910-262-3052

Aldrich warrants that its products conform to the information contained in this and other Aldrich publications. Purchaser must determine the suitability of the product for its particular use. See reverse side of invoice or packing slip for additional terms and conditions of sale.

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