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Classification of Gases

Oxidizers vs. inert vs. flammable gases.

Compressed gases can be classified as

  • oxidizers
  • inert gases
  • flammable gases


Oxidizers are not flammable by them self, but will contribute to combustion as an oxidant. Fat or oil is not acceptable in combination with oxidizers.

Some common oxidizers:

  • Air
  • Chlorine
  • Fluorine
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Oxygen

Inert gases

Inert gases do not take part in combustion processes and they do not react with other materials. An inert gas supplied to a room or limited space will reduce the amount of oxygen and limit a combustion process of a fire. Inert gases are used in extinguishing systems where it is important to avoid water damage - rooms with electronic devices etc.

Some inert gases:

  • Argon
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Helium
  • Neon
  • Nitrogen
  • Xenon

Flammable gases

Flammable gases together with air or oxygen in the right concentration burns or explodes if ignited.

If the mixture is to lean or to rich the mixture will not ignite.

Some flammable gases:

  • Acetylene
  • Ammonia
  • Arsine
  • Butane
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Cyclopropane
  • Ethane
  • Ethylene
  • Ethyl Chloride
  • Hydrogen
  • Isobutan
  • Methane
  • Methyl Chloride
  • Propane
  • Propylene
  • Silane

Related Topics

  • Combustion

    Combustion processes and their efficiency. Boiler house and chimney topics. Properties of fuels like oil, gas, coal and wood and more. Safety valves and tanks.
  • Gases and Compressed Air

    Properties of air, LNG, LPG and other common gases. Pipeline capacities and sizing of relief valves.

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