Find a Stockist near you

Popular Uses For Butane Gas

There are many uses for butane gas, including in fridges, lighters, and aerosols. Butane gas bottles are just one of many gaseous products stocked by us, so you can trust our expertise on the subject of butane and all things gas.

Understanding Butane Gas

The Different States of Butane

Butane Torch

Portable Grills

LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas)

Refrigerators

Lighters and Aerosols

Environmentally Friendly Gas

The Dangers

Understanding Butane Gas

Butane was discovered by the chemist Edward Frankland in 1849 and is an unbranched alkane with four carbon atoms in each molecule. It is highly flammable, colourless, heavier than air, and easily liquefied. Let’s take a closer look at how butane acts in different situations before we continue to its uses.

Many orange gas cylinders transported in car

The Different States of Butane

Butane is a gas at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure. However, it can be easily liquified by decreasing the temperature to -1 degree Celsius or increasing the atmospheric pressure with the gas canister.

When there is oxygen present, butane can burn to form carbon dioxide and water vapour. However, if there isn’t enough oxygen available, burning butane can produce toxic and dangerous carbon monoxide as its waste product.

Now that we understand how butane is stored, we can understand how it is used in the following products better.

Calor gas cylinder bottles refilling with hose at refill point within caravan park site uk

Butane Torch

This is an item that takes advantage of Butane’s flammable nature. The butane torch is regularly used in glass making, craft projects, and certain plumbing projects which require heat.

Propane bottle with work tools isolated on blue background. 3d illustration

Portable Grills

Campers love to use butane in their portable grills because the fuel is easy to transport when it is compressed into a gas canister. Most portable grills use butane or propane as their main fuel source.

Stainless steel gas grill bbq barbecue. Cooking meat, fish, vegetables in summertime gatherings, no people

LPG

Butane can be combined with propane as well as other substances in order to form liquefied petroleum gas, also known as LPG. It is used in this form to manufacture petrochemicals, to calibrate gas detectors, and as a refrigerant.

Closeup man's hand operating valve of LPG cylinder for cooking

Refrigerators

Methane used to be the primary gas used in refrigerators, but due to the stress that methane places on the ozone layer, this common household item has since switched to using very pure forms of butane instead. Often, gasoline is added to the butane when it is used in refrigerators, this is because adding gasoline enhances the performance of the butane.

Refrigerator, fridge on kitchen tiled floor, blue wall background, copy space. 3d illustration

Lighters and Aerosols

Butane is often used as the fuel in lighters as it can handle being pressurised. As the vapour pressure requirements for butane are relatively low, putting it in a small plastic pressure vessel such as a lighter is possible and not dangerous. When the pressure is released through the valve, the liquid quickly turns into gas, which is very easily ignited with the oxygen found in the Earth’s air.

Some gases can damage plastic on contact, but butane is part of a group of hydrocarbons – a group of gases which don’t attack plastics – which makes it perfect for use in plastic lighters.

black gasoline lighter with flame on dark background

Environmentally Friendly Gas

Unlike gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, butane is not a greenhouse gas and does not affect the ozone layer. Butane, therefore, has become a replacement material for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) acting as the propellant in aerosol deodorants, so the risk of solvents negatively impacting the environment is minimised. Extremely pure forms of butane, such as isobutanes, have also replaced the ozone-layer-depleting gases known as halomethanes in refrigerants.

3D Rendering World Globe from Space in a Star Field Showing Night Sky With Stars and Nebula. View of Earth From Space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA Link https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Whole_world_-_land_and_oceans_12000.jpg

The Dangers

Although in many household and commercial products, butane is one of the most misused volatile substances in the UK. If inhaled, butane can cause a range of mild to serious side effects including drowsiness, euphoria, fluctuations in blood pressure, and memory loss. If subject to butane from a highly pressurised container, in some serious cases, death can occur from asphyxiation due to irregular and rapid heart rhythms.

Contact with the liquid form of butane, or from the pressurised gas inside an aerosol spray, can cause frostbite or freeze burn due to its cold temperature. As butane is also extremely flammable and explosive it is easily ignited, and with prolonged exposure to heat or fire, it could cause containers or gas bottles to explode.

Gas tanks with fire. during training

Here at Adams Gas, our butane gas bottles are available in a variety of sizes allowing us to cater to your needs, whether you require a lot or a little. Our Calor gases are regularly checked and maintained for the safety of our consumers. So, if you’re going camping, to a festival, or having a barbeque in the midst of summer, get in touch with a member of our friendly team to find out more about our case bottles.