Accurate flash point and flammability limit data are needed to design safe chemical processes. Unfortunately, improper data storage and reporting policies that disregard the temperature dependence of the flammability limit and the fundamental relationship between the flash point and the lower flammability limit have resulted in compilations filled with erroneous values. To establish a database of consistent flammability data, critical analysis of reported data, experimental investigation of the temperature dependence of the lower flammability limit, and theoretical and empirical exploration of the relationship between flash points and temperature limits are undertaken. Lower flammability limit measurements in a 12-L ASHRAE style apparatus were performed at temperatures between 300 K and 500 K. Analysis of these measurements showed that the adiabatic flame temperature at the lower flammability limit is not constant as previously thought, rather decreases with increasing temperature. Consequently the well-known modified Burgess-Wheeler law underestimates the effect of initial temperature on the lower flammability limit. Flash point and lower temperature limit measurements indicate that the flash point is greater than the lower temperature limit, the difference increasing with increasing lower temperature limit. Flash point values determined in a Pensky-Martens apparatus typically exceed values determined using a small-scale apparatus above 350 K. Data stored in the DIPPR® 801 database and more than 3600 points found in the literature were critically reviewed and the most probable value recommended, creating a database of consistent flammability data. This dataset was then used to develop a method of estimating the lower flammability limit, including dependence on initial temperature, and the upper flammability limit. Three methods of estimating the flash point, with one based entirely on structural contributions, were also developed. The proposed lower flammability limit and flash point methods appear to predict close to, if not within, experimental error.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





flammability limit, flash point, DIPPR, flame propagation