Features of Ethylene oxide
Ethylene, C2H4O, is a toxic and flammable gas.
Physical and chemical properties
Physical state: Liquefied gas
Molecular weight: 44 g/mol
Smell: Ethereal, hardly noticeable at low concentrations
Ethylene oxide is used:
- as reagent for some chemical/pharmaceutical synthesis reactions (surfactants);
- mixed with carbon dioxide (CO2), as sterilizer for disposable medical equipment.
Stability and reactivity
It can reacts violently with alkali.
It can decompose violently at high temperature and/or pressure or in the presence of catalysts.
It can polymerize.
It is usually spiked into inhibitors.
It can form explosive mixtures with the air.
The container is generally pressurized at 5-7 bar with nitrogen.