Chemical Compatibility

The following contains information concerning chemical compatibility. This is not comprehensive guidance. Safety Data Sheets and other resources should be utilized when determining compatibility and reactivity of chemicals.

General Rules for Chemical Storage

The following common chemicals should not be stored together. If they are stored in the same location, they should be separated using secondary containment.

  • Acids separate from bases.
  • Oxidizers separate from organics, combustibles, and reducers. This includes separating oxidizing acids from organic acids.
  • Acids separate from bleach, azides, cyanides, sulfides, metals, and carbides.

The following are general rules for storage containers.

  • Do not store hydrofluoric acid in glass.
  • Do not store hydroxide solutions in aluminum. Hydroxides also etch glass.
  • Do not store chlorinated solvents in incompatible plastics based on this chart.

For more information on chemical storage see the guidance document Chemical Storage.

Potentially Explosive Mixtures

  •              Acetone and chloroform in the presence of a base.
  •              Acetylene in the presence of copper, silver, mercury, or their salts.
  •              Ammonia (includes aqueous solutions) in presence of chlorine, bromine, or iodine.
  •              Ammonia and silver salts in the presence of strong base.
  •              Sodium azide and chlorinated solvents in the presence of solvents such as DMSO.
  •              Sodium azide in the presence of heavy metals such as Pb, Hg, Cu or their salts.
  •              Carbon disulfide in the presence of sodium azide.
  •              Chlorine in the presence of alcohols.
  •              Chloroform or carbon tetrachloride in the presence of aluminum or magnesium powder.
  •              Decolorizing carbon in the presence of oxidizing agents.
  •              Diethyl ether in the presence of chlorine.
  •              Dimethyl sulfoxide in the presence of chromium trioxide.
  •              Ethanol in the presence of calcium hypochlorite or silver nitrate.
  •              Halogenated compounds (chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, etc.) in the presence of active metals (sodium, potassium, etc.).
  •              Hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid mixtures heated.
  •              Hydrogen peroxide and acetone in the presence of acid.
  •              Hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid.
  •              Nitric acid in the presence of acetic anhydride, acetic acid, or other organics.
  •              Oxygen (high pressure) with oil or grease.
  •              Permanganates and sulfuric acid.
  •              Phosphorus (white and red) with oxidizing agents.
  •              Phosphorus with aqueous hydroxides.
  •              Picric acid in the presence of heavy metal salts such as Pb, Hg, or Ag.
  •              Silver oxide and ammonia in the presence of ethanol.
  •              Sodium in the presence of chlorinated hydrocarbons.
  •              Sodium hypochlorite in the presence of amines.

Incompatible Chemicals

Several common incompatible chemicals are listed below. This is not a comprehensive list.

Chemical

Incompatibilities

Acetic Acid

Chromic acid, hydroxides, nitric acid, perchloric acid, peroxides, permanganates

Acetone

Concentrated nitric acid, sulfuric acid, and mixtures containing them

Acetylene

Chlorine, copper, bromine, fluorine, mercury, silver

Acrolein

Non-oxidizing mineral acids

Acrylic acid

Aromatic amines

Acrylonitrile

Caustics

Alcohols

Aliphatic amines, caustics, isocyanates, nitric acid, sulfuric acid

Aldehydes

Amines, ammonia, caustics, nitric acid, sulfuric acid

Alkali and alkaline earth metals

Carbon tetrachloride or other chlorinated hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, halogens, water

Alkyl nitrates

Non-oxidizing mineral acids

Allyl alcohol

Isocyanates

Ammonia (anhydrous)

Bromine, calcium hypochlorite,  chlorine, hydrofluoric acid (anhydrous), iodine, mercury

Ammonium nitrate

Acids, chlorates, flammable liquids, nitrites, powdered metals, sulfur, finely divided organic or combustible materials

Aniline

Hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid

Arsenical materials

Any reducing agent

Azides

Acids

Bromine

Acetylene, ammonia, benzene, butadiene, butane, hydrogen, finely divided metals, methane, propane, sodium carbide, turpentine

Calcium oxide

Water

Carbon(activated)

Calcium hypochlorite, all oxidizing agents

Carbon tetrachloride

Sodium

Chlorates

Ammonium slats, acids, powdered metals, sulfur finely divided organic or combustible materials

Chromic acid and chromium trioxide

Acetic acid, naphthalene, camphor, glycerol, alcohol, flammable liquids

Chlorine

Ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, butane, methane, propane, hydrogen, sodium carbide, benzene, finely divided metals, turpentine

Chlorine dioxide

Ammonia, methane, phosphine, hydrogen sulfide

Copper

Acetylene, hydrogen peroxide

Crotonaldehyde

Non-oxidizing mineral acids

Cumene hydroperoxide

Acid (organic or inorganic)

Cyanides

Acids

Cyclohexanone, cyclohexanol mixture

Isocyanates

Decaborane

Carbon tetrachloride and some other halogenated hydrocarbons

Dichloromethane

Alkali metals (lithium, sodium, potassium), strong bases, strong oxidizers (perchlorates, peroxides, permanganates, chlorates, nitrates, chlorine, bromine, fluorine), magnesium, aluminum

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, triisopropanolamine  salt solution

Nitric acid

Dimethyl hydrogen phosphite

Non-oxidizing mineral acids, organic acids

Dimethyl naphthalene sulfonic acid, sodium salt solution

Isocyanates

Ethers

Caustics, ammonia, amines

Ethylenediamine

Ethylene dichloride

Ethylidene norbonene

Aliphatic amines, , alkanolamines, ammonia, caustics, mineral acids

2-Ethyl-3-propylacrolein

Non-oxidizing mineral acids

Fish oil

Sulfuric acid

Flammable liquids

Ammonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide, halogens

Fluorine

Everything

Formaldehyde ca. 37% in water (methanol stabilized)

Strong oxidizers, isocyanates, acids, amines, strong bases, phenol, peroxides, acid anhydrides

Formaldehyde (over 50%) in methanol (over 30%)

Isocyanates

Formalin solution, neutral buffered, 10%

Strong bases, acids, oxidizing agents, alkali metals amines, acid chlorides, acid anhydrides, reducing agents, peroxides, isocyanates, phenol

Formic acid

Furfural alcohol

Furfuryl alcohol

Non-oxidizing mineral acids, formic acid

Hydrocarbons (such as butane, propane, benzene, pentene)

Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, chromic acid, sodium peroxide, hydrocyanic acid, nitric acid, alkali, oxidizing agents

Hydrofluoric acid (anhydrous)

Ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous)

Hydrogen peroxide

Copper, chromium, iron, most metals and their salts, alcohols, acetone, organics, aniline, nitromethane, combustible materials

Hydrogen sulfide

Fuming nitric acid, oxidizing gases

Hydrazine

Nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other oxidants

Hypochlorites

Acids, activated carbon

Iodine

Acetylene, ammonia(aqueous or anhydrous), hydrogen

Isocyanates

Acids, caustics, ammonia, amines, amides, alcohols, aqueous solutions, caprolactam solution, glycol ether

Isophorone

Alkanolamines

Ketones

Sulfuric acid, nitric acid, aliphatic amines

Magnesium chloride solution

Sulfuric acid, nitric acid, caustics, ammonia, isocyanates

Mercury

Acetylene, ammonia, fulminic acid

Methacrylonitrile

Caustics

Methyl tert-butyl ether

Non-oxidizing mineral acids

Nitrates

Sulfuric acid

Nitric acid*

Acetic acid, aniline, chromic acid, hydrocyanic acid, hydrogen sulfide, flammable liquids, flammable gases, copper, brass, any heavy metals, ORGANICS

Nitrites

Acids

Nitriles

Sulfuric acid

Nitroparaffins

Inorganic bases, amines

o-Nitrophenol

Ammonia, amines, amides, caustics, nitric acid, sulfuric acid

Oxalic acid

Mercury, silver

Oxygen

Flammable liquid, grease, hydrogen, oils

Perchloric acid

Acetic anhydride, alcohol, bismuth and its alloys, grease, oil, paper, wood

Peroxides, organic

Acids (organic or mineral), avoid friction

Potassium

Carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, water

Potassium chlorate

Sulfuric and other acids

Potassium perchlorate(and other perchlorates)

Sulfuric and other acids

Potassium permanganate

Benzaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycerol, sulfuric acid

Selenides

Reducing agents

Silver

Acetylene, ammonium compounds, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, fulminic acid

Sodium

Carbon tetrachloride,  carbon dioxide dichloromethane, water

Sodium azide

Acids, acid chlorides, halogenated hydrocarbon, metals

Sodium hydrogen sulfide, sodium carbonate solution

Ammonia, aliphatic amines

Sodium hydrogen sulfide, ammonium sulfide solution

Ammonia, aliphatic amines

Sodium hydrosulfide

Ammonia, aliphatic amines

Sodium nitrite

Ammonium nitrate and other ammonium salts

Sodium peroxide

Acetic anhydride, carbon disulfide, ethyl or methyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, ethylene glycol, ethyl acetate, furfural,  glycerine , glacial acetic acid, methyl acetate

Sodium polyacrylate solution

Nitric acid

Sodium silicate solution

Nitric acid

Sodium thiocyanate

Acids

Sulfides

Acids

Sulfuric acid

Potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium permanganate

Tellurides

Reducing agents

1,1,1-Trichloroethane

Oleum

Trichloroethylene

Caustics

Triethyl phosphite

Non-oxidizing mineral acids, organic acids

Trimethyl phosphite

Non-oxidizing mineral acids, organic acids

1,3,5-trioxane

Non-oxidizing mineral acids, organic acids

* Nitric acid is a common oxidizing acid found in many laboratories throughout campus. Nitric acid has been the cause of many explosions and accidents. DO NOT mix nitric acid with any organic material unless it is a controlled environment and a detailed SOP has been written. Nitric acid reacts dangerously with organics and the violent reaction may not occur for several hours after mixing. Concentrate nitric acid is not the only cause of these accidents. Solutions containing nitric acid can also be dangerous.

Last Update: 1/22/2015