Valuable fragrance and flavoring chemicals are mostly flammable liquids as they are diluted in, or based on, alcohol or other flammable organic solvents. As a result of their flammability, the transportation of these chemicals is generally controlled under government regulations for the transportation of dangerous materials such as the United States Department of Transportation and its Code of Federal Regulations.
Transportation of these items necessitates their manufacturer to categorize their flammability according to their flashpoint. While common flashpoint techniques such as Pensky-Martens are commonly cited by these regulations, the large sample volumes necessitated by these techniques are both expensive and undesirable for fragrance and flavor producers to follow.
Specialty flavor and fragrance chemicals are generally produced in little batch quantities using very costly materials and processes. For these batches, a 75 mL/2.54 fl.oz. sample, necessitated by the Pensky-Martens technique, may signify a major portion of the total production volume. Furthermore, for these extremely valuable products, the commercial value of the sample needed for a Pensky-Martens test may vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars for each test.
Furthermore, the heating and flashing of these chemicals emit strong, and frequently objectionable, odors all across a laboratory. Obviously, producers of flavors and fragrances need a better method of flash point testing.
The MiniFlash by Grabner Instruments was particularly developed to be a safer and easier-to-use alternative to conventional flash point test approaches such as Pensky-Martens. This completely automatic flash point tester attains its high level of safety by requiring a tiny 1 mL sample size and by fully isolating the sample during its test inside a constantly closed cup.
The small sample size and constantly closed cup diminish both the chance for a fire and the cost of testing. The MINIFLASH provides another obvious benefit for laboratory workers who test flavor and fragrance chemicals. The odors associated with testing these chemicals are considerably reduced by the combination of the small sample size and the constantly closed cup testing technique.
In independent round robin testing, the MiniFlash was confirmed to be statistically equal to the Pensky-Martens flash point technique. As a direct result of this statistical equivalence, the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted special permits permitting “… the flash points of volatile organic liquids may as an alternative be determined by means of a Grabner MiniFlash Flashpoint Analyzer.”
In summary, the MiniFlash decreases the expense associated with flash point testing while making the laboratory a safer and more pleasant place to work.
Figure 1. MINIFLASH vs automated Pensky-Martens, performed by Henkel Germany. PMA methods: ISO 2719, EN 22719, ASTM D93.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Grabner Instruments.
For more information on this source, please visit Grabner Instruments.