Properties of Propane
Propane Properties That Make It Unique
Propane is a hydrocarbon (C3H8) and is sometimes referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, LP-gas or LPG. Propane is produced from both natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is non-toxic, colorless and virtually odorless. As with natural gas, an identifying odor is added so the gas can be readily detected. Propane exists as a liquid and a gas. At atmospheric pressure and temperatures above –44 F, it is a non-toxic, colorless and odorless gas. Just as with natural gas, an identifying odor is added so it can be readily detected. When contained in an approved cylinder or tank, propane exists as a liquid and vapor. The vapor is released from the container as a clean-burning fuel gas. Propane is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, making it economical to store and transport as a liquid.
Common Propane Terms
- BTU British Thermal Unit A BTU is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
- Ethyl Mercaptan A chemical odorant that is added to propane for the purpose of helping to detect leaks.
- HD-5 A grade of propane with a low propylene content that is used for all propane applications. HD stands for heavy-duty, and the 5 stands for the maximum of 5% propylene.
- Leak Check A test performed on a propane gas system using propane vapor at slightly less than normal operating pressure for a specified length of time. A leak check is conducted with all appliances connected to the gas line.
- NPGA National Propane Gas Association
- Pilot A small gas burner which is used to ignite a main burner
- Propane Gas A colorless, flammable gas found in petroleum and used as a fuel. Propane as a specific gravity of 1.52 and a heating value of 2, 500 BTU’s per cubic foot and 91,600 BTU’s per gallon.
- Regulator An adjustable mechanical device that measures, restricts, and maintains a constant downstream pressure of a gas or liquid.
- Relief Valve A spring-loaded valve which will relieve excess pressure if the valve’s set point is exceeded.
- Service Valve Controls the flow of product out of a container by operation of a handwheel.
- Tank Percentage Gauge Gauge located under the dome of the propane tank that indicates the percentage of propane currently in the tank.
Propane Is a Versatile Fuel
- Propane is used by millions of people in many different environments-homes, industry, farming and more.
- More than 14 million families use propane to fuel their furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills, fireplaces, dryers and range tops.
- Because propane produces minimal emissions, it is safe to use indoors. As a result, nearly 500,000 forklift trucks are powered by propane. Millions more choose this clean-burning alternative for bus, taxi, delivery and other fleets to minimize air pollution in metropolitan areas.
- Propane is used on 660,000 farms for irrigation pumps, grain dryers, standby generators and other farm equipment. It is an essential fuel for crop drying, flame cultivation, fruit ripening, space and water heating and food refrigeration.
- Propane is easy to transport and can be used in areas beyond the natural gas mains. Because it is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, it is economical to store and transport as a liquid.