Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's The Benefit Of Butane Over Gas

Butane is commonly used to propel the contents of hair spray canisters.

Butane is also known as n-butane and isobutane. The primary advantage of butane use in either of its forms over propane use is its light weight and subsequent portability. Butane gas is compressed in containers as small as handheld lighters to ones as large as caravan and motor home heaters. Portability equates to convenience especially for environmental enthusiasts and long-distance hikers who need to carry their stoves with them.

Use in Lighters

Although butane remains a liquid at zero degrees Celsius, extreme cold, and propane does not, it is still an optimal source for wind-proof gas-based lighters. The light molecular weight of butane allows it to release more energy upon ignition so it is more efficient. For this reason, smokers and consumers who need a torch lighter at ambient temperatures get better use from a butane lighter. Some butane torch lighters are made to add oxygen to the butane before ignition to produce flames that get hotter faster and counter the nullifying effects of freezing external temperatures.

Cost Advantage

When comparing portable butane stoves with portable propane stoves, it is hard to find the differences. Butane is lighter but both stove types come in various sizes ranging from single handheld stoves to double burners. Both are available with removable panels to facilitate cleaning and flame height adjusters. If climate is not a concern, it may be difficult to decide which of the two is a better purchase. A defining factor may be that stoves that burn on butane gas are more economical as butane is cheaper than propane.

Aerosol Cans

The hydrocarbons in the molecular structures of propane and butane make them efficient as single use propellants for aerosol can contents. When used alone, however, propane is a much more dangerous propellant being more likely to ignite if punctured and cause dangerous fires. Butane and propane mixtures balance the chemical composition as a combination propellant and make them safe for consumer use. The combination is commonly found in spray antiperspirants, hair mousse, hair spray, air fresheners and deodorants.

Inhalation Dangers

The advantages of butane, including its low cost, ease of portability and widespread availability in common household and cosmetic products, have unfortunately led to its abuse as an easily accessible inhalant. Upon inhalation, butane depresses the central nervous system and sometimes causes sudden death. The lure of its use is that it reduces anxiety and provides a feeling of intoxication. Side effects include loss of coordination, slurred speech, visual disturbance, vomiting, drowsiness and confusion. Long-term use damages vital organs such as the brain, kidneys, lungs and liver.

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