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Reference Information

Lower and Upper Explosive Limits for


Flammable Gases and Vapors (LEL/UEL)
Before a fire or explosion can occur, three conditions must be met
simultaneously. A fuel (ie. combustible gas) and oxygen (air) must
exist in certain proportions, along with an ignition source, such as
a spark or flame. The ratio of fuel and oxygen that is required
varies with each combustible gas or vapor.
The minimum concentration of a particular combustible gas or
vapor necessary to support its combustion in air is defined as the
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) for that gas. Below this level, the
mixture is too lean to burn. The maximum concentration of a gas
or vapor that will burn in air is defined as the Upper Explosive
Limit (UEL). Above this level, the mixture is too rich to burn.
The range between the LEL and UEL is known as the flammable
range for that gas or vapor.

443

The values shown in this table are valid only for the conditions
under which they were determined (usually room temperature and
atmospheric pressure using a 2 inch tube with spark ignition). The
flammability range of most materials expands as temperature,
pressure and container diameter increase.
Sources: Data extracted from Gas Data Book, 7th edition, copyright
2001 by Matheson Gas Products, and from Bulletin 627,
Flammability Characteristics of Combustible Gases and Vapors,
copyright 1965 by U.S.Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.

All concentrations in percent by volume.

Gas
Heptane
Hexane
Hydrogen
Hydrogen Cyanide
Hydrogen Sulfide
Isobutane
Isobutylene
Isopropanol
Methane
Methanol
Methylacetylene
Methyl Bromide
3-Methyl-1-Butene
Methyl Cellosolve
Methyl Chloride
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Methyl Mercaptan
Methyl Vinyl Ether
Monoethylamine
Monomethylamine
Nickel Carbonyl
Pentane
Picoline
Propane
Propylene
Propylene Oxide
Styrene
Tetrafluoroethylene
Tetrahydrofuran
Toluene
Trichloroethylene
Trimethylamine
Turpentine
Vinyl Acetate
Vinyl Bromide
Vinyl Chloride
Vinyl Fluoride
Xylene

LEL
1.1
1.2
4.0
5.6
4.0
1.8
1.8
2.2
5.0
6.7
1.7
10.0
1.5
2.5
7.0
1.9
3.9
2.6
3.5
4.9
2.0
1.4
1.4
2.1
2.4
2.8
1.1
4.0
2.0
1.2
12.0
2.0
0.7
2.6
9.0
4.0
2.6
1.1

UEL
6.7
7.4
75.0
40.0
44.0
8.4
9.6

15.0
36.0
11.7
15.0
9.1
20.0
17.4
10.0
21.8
39.0
14.0
20.7

7.8

9.5
11.0
37.0

43.0

7.1
40.0
12.0

14.0
22.0
21.7
6.6

Gas
Acetone
Acetylene
Acrylonitrile
Allene
Ammonia
Benzene
1,3-Butadiene
Butane
n-Butanol
1-Butene
Cis-2-Butene
Trans-2-Butene
Butyl Acetate
Carbon Monoxide
Carbonyl Sulfide
Chlorotrifluoroethylene
Cumene
Cyanogen
Cyclohexane
Cyclopropane
Deuterium
Diborane
Dichlorosilane
Diethylbenzene
1,1-Difluoro-1-Chloroethane
1,1-Difluoroethane
1,1-Difluoroethylene
Dimethylamine
Dimethyl Ether
2,2-Dimethylpropane
Ethane
Ethanol
Ethyl Acetate
Ethyl Benzene
Ethyl Chloride
Ethylene
Ethylene Oxide
Gasoline

LEL
2.6
2.5
3.0
1.5
15.0
1.3
2.0
1.8
1.7
1.6
1.7
1.7
1.4
12.5
12.0
8.4
0.9
6.6
1.3
2.4
4.9
0.8
4.1
0.8
9.0
5.1
5.5
2.8
3.4
1.4
3.0
3.3
2.2
1.0
3.8
2.7
3.6
1.2

UEL
13.0
100.0
17
11.5
28.0
7.9
12.0
8.4
12.0
10.0
9.7
9.7
8.0
74.0
29.0
38.7
6.5
32.0
7.8
10.4
75.0
88.0
98.8

14.8
17.1
21.3
14.4
27.0
7.5
12.4
19.0
11.0
6.7
15.4
36.0
100.0
7.1

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