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Abstract

Regulatory issues related to material safety have made the accurate measurement and/or prediction of flash points essential. The flash point is one of the major physical properties used to determine the fire and explosion hazards of a liquid. Flash points are used by virtually all governmental entities worldwide to define “flammable” and “combustible” materials for shipping and safety regulations.

A model is described here for the calculation of closed cup flash points for multicomponent, single liquid phase, mixtures. The model is based upon rigorous vapor/liquid equilibrium calculations supplemented with information about the lower flammable limits (LFL's) and heats of combustion (ΔHc's) for the mixture's constituent components. The closed cup flash points predicted with this model are typically within ± 5°C of the experimentally reported values. Such a model is useful as a means of verifying experimental data and as a tool for screening product formulations prior to experimental flash point determination. The model should considerably enhance the safety evaluation portion of the product development cycle, thus leading to shortened product time-to-market cycles. While flash points calculated with this model are in excellent agreement with experiment, experimental determination is still encouraged for critìcal safety applications.