The freezing point of butane gas is roughly -140 degrees Celsius, but the boiling point is -2 degrees Celsius, thus your blue butane gas cylinder might not operate as well in colder weather because low temperatures make producing gas vapour difficult.
How cold is too cold for butane?
Butane cannot be used at temperatures below -216.4 °F (-138 °C). When the temperature around it rises above the freezing point, it stops working. Butane, on the other hand, slows down vaporization below 31.28 °F (-0.4 °Celsius), making it useless at temperatures below 32 °F.
Butane and propane are typically found in fuel canisters. Propane, unlike butane, will continue to evaporate at lower temperatures but will burn out at sub-freezing temperatures. As a result, the mixture goes closer to butane, and less gas vaporizes.
The stove or canister is powered by vaporization, with heat playing an important role. As butane is used to power the can, it will cool. In addition, in the winter, temperatures might drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below freezing. Under these conditions, internal pressure lowers, preventing vaporization and preventing fuel from reaching the stove.
Can you store butane in cold?
Because butane canisters are often offered in smaller volumes, they are easier to store than propane bottles. Butane canisters can be stored together, individually packaged, or wrapped in a protective sleeve, such as plastic foam or thick cloth, due to their compact size. Federal labels affixed to butane canisters indicate safe storage parameters, such as maximum temperature and cold ranges. Butane storage temperatures should be kept between 32 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Butane must be stored in a cool, dry, and fireproof setting.
How do you keep butane from freezing?
My canister stove is easy to use and has been my go-to three-season alternative for a long time. However, it’s a pain in the winter, or whenever temperatures drop below freezing, because they perform poorly or not at all. Why?
It all comes down to a little chemistry and physics. A compressed mixture of butane and propane is contained in canisters. The pressure keeps the majority of the combination liquid (you can hear it sloshing around inside the canister if you shake it), but a small percentage vaporizes into a gas above the liquid. When you connect a stove to the canister and turn it on, gas rises to feed the stove burner and heat your food or water.
The pressure inside the canister must be greater than the pressure outside the canister for this to work. However, as the temperature of the canister dips below freezing, the internal pressure begins to drop, and the burner sputters and goes off.
Why? Butane, which ceases vaporizing around 31 degrees Fahrenheit, is the main problem (its boiling point). (A chemical variant of butane, isobutane, continues to vaporize at 11 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Butane makes up the majority of the fuel in canisters, accounting for 70 to 80 percent of the total; propane makes up the rest. Unlike butane, propane, on the other hand, continues to vaporize even at extremely low temperatures (down to minus-43 degrees Fahrenheit). This has some intriguing implications for performance in cold conditions.
The fact that propane burns out at a disproportionate pace in sub-freezing temperatures is one among them. As the residual mixture changes more toward butane, less and less fuel vaporizes until the pressure in the canister drops too low to keep feeding the stove. This means that a fresh new fuel canister may run for a short time in sub-freezing temperatures, but it will cease working before the canister is completely emptied.
Another aspect that impacts a canister’s cold-weather performance is the temperature. The process of vaporizationthe transition from a liquid to a gasrequires energy. The warmth (latent heat) in the fuel mixture itself provides the majority of the energy in a fuel canister, which is why a stove canister will become substantially cooler while the stove is functioning. Even if the ambient temperature is above the fuel’s boiling point, this effect can push the canister temperature down and stop the burner cold in cold conditions.
- This FAQ on fuel blends is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the science behind it all.
So, what are your options? If you plan on doing a lot of winter camping, invest in a white gas-fueled liquid fuel stove that will keep you warm even in the coldest temps. Warm up the canister stove before using it if you’re out in near-freezing temperatures using a canister stove. For a while, tuck it inside your clothing, or bring it into your sleeping bag at night. Keeping the canister above freezing while in use can also be accomplished by placing it in a shallow dish or pan with an inch or two of water.
Why does butane freeze?
Although the gas in the bottles is under pressure, the heat generated when the gas was compressed has long since evaporated. When you run out of gas, the pressure in the bottle drops, lowering the temperature and causing the freezing.
How long does butane last in storage?
Sealable butane canisters, in general, do not go bad; in fact, experts agree that they can last up to ten years, perhaps even longer. Butane canisters that have been opened but have not been used for a while are still flammable and will operate in your camping stove, although the quality of the gas may diminish over time.
Where should I store butane?
Butane cartridges are normally safe to store, but any time you’re dealing with compressed fuel in a can, you must exercise caution. This is especially true if you’re storing significant quantities of solvents. Cans can disintegrate, releasing solvents into the atmosphere.
- Canisters should be kept in a cool, dry place where the temperature does not exceed 122°F (50°C). Excessive heat can cause an explosion.
- Avoid storing canisters in low-level areas like basements and keep them in a well-ventilated space.
Sealable solvent cans can be safely stored in garages, storerooms, and large drawers, among other places. Simply ensure that the setting is indoors, cool, dry, and away from any sources of heat.
Can butane cans explode?
Butane gas canisters are a fantastic way to fuel a stove or heating equipment while camping because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and lightweight. Gas canisters can build up pressure and explode if handled or stored incorrectly.
Can butane canisters explode in a hot car?
With summer on the way and temperatures rising, you’re probably wondering how the heat will effect your camping gear. Even when the temperature outside is 70 degrees Fahrenheit which is about as good as it gets for outdoor fun the temperature inside your automobile can reach 100 degrees in less than half an hour. Your automobile can reach 130 degrees in just 30 minutes at 95 degrees, which is not unusual for an Arkansas summer. On an 80100 degree day, the interior of an automobile parked in direct sunshine can reach temperatures of 130172 degrees!
Your foldable shovel and tent stakes will be unaffected by the heat, but what about your more delicate outdoor gear, such as the fuel canisters for your camp stove? Your automobile may melt the glue off your hiking boots when it transforms into a solar oven, but that seems insignificant when compared to the small pressurized canister of flammable and explosive gas you use to cook your dinner.
On the canisters of prominent brands like MSR and JetBoil, there are obvious instructions to avoid temperatures beyond 120 degrees Fahrenheit printed immediately on the canisters.
Always keep your fuel in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. When your camping gear is safely stored at home, this is simple enough, but it’s not so simple when you’re heading outdoors on a warm and sunny weekend.
Your automobile can grow hot enough to melt your chocolate bar and destroy your climbing shoes, but it’s unlikely to cause your fuel to explode if you exercise common sense and good judgment.
Camp stove fuel canisters seldom burst, and when they do, it’s usually due to human mistake. Your camp stove comes with a large set of instructions, frequently written in all capital letters, that tell you how to operate it safely. Your camp stove fuel is more likely to explode due to poor windscreen use than from sitting in a hot car in the summer (although even then, the chance of explosion is still small).
Those fuel canisters are a lot tougher than they appear. It’s not like a self-destruct switch is thrown when the temperature reaches 120 degrees. Even though the temperature warning is on the low end, you should not disregard it. In fact, you should do everything possible to limit the amount of heat that your fuel canister is exposed to.
Here are some summer storage guidelines for your pressurized gasoline canisters.
- To help protect your gasoline canisters from the heat, place them beneath other items.
- Allow your vehicle’s windows to be cracked to assist decrease the temperature and increase air movement.
- To assist reduce the inside temperature of your vehicle, invest in a sunshade.
- Keep your fuel canisters out of direct sunlight at all times. The dashboard is an awful location to keep your gas.
- Allow time for your gasoline to cool before using it. Allow your canister to cool in a cool, well-ventilated area in the shade.
We’ve been selling outdoor gear in Northwest Arkansas for more than 30 years, and we’ve never heard of a gas canister exploding in a hot automobile. However, just because we’ve never heard of something doesn’t imply it hasn’t happened. Please tell us about your experiences in the comments section below!