Liquid propane is a very useful part of our daily lives.
It’s used in cooking, heating and loosening hardware rust. Liquid propane is sold in small LP tanks like those used in hand-held torches. Since the second decade of the nineteenth century, remarkable increase is observed in the production of liquid propane, The recorded production of liquid propane in late 1920’s was around one million gallons and by late 1930’s, the annual use of LP gas had reached 56 million gallons. Since then, its usage has been ever increasing. It is not only used for domestic purpose but its commercial usage is much higher. Its utility is mostly in those areas where the supply of natural gas is limited.
Liquid Propane is an essential ingredient of two very crucial processes. First one is the processing of natural gas and the other one is the petroleum refining. The processing of the natural gas is carried out by removal of butane, liquid propane and a significant amount of ethane from the raw gas. Liquid propane is produced as a byproduct in the process of decomposing petroleum into heating oil or gasoline. This is important to avoid concentration of butane and ethane in the pipeline of the natural gas. It is stored and carried in LP tanks.
Propane has an energy density of 46.44 mega joules per kilogram. According to the measurement, the density of propane at 25 degrees Celsius is 493 grams per cubic centimeter. Thus the Liquid propane weighs approx 4.2 (+/- 0.1) pounds per gallon and at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Propane expands 1.5% per 10 degrees. Keeping in view, these properties, the LP tanks are designed accordingly. There should be no leakage or seepage in LP tanks to ensure safe storage and delivery.
Liquid Propane is most commonly seen in the form of liquefied petroleum such as gas. This is usually used as a fuel in areas where no main lines or supplies of gas are available. As it is a byproduct from the oil refining process, gas is compressed into a liquid form for ease of storage and convenience of delivery. In a domestic LP tank, liquid propane vaporizes and changes its state to a gaseous form in the upper part of the vessel, which can be used as a cooking and heating gas through a controlled flow. The pressure of liquid propane in a LP tank is regulated down to such a level, which is compatible with the appliances it runs.
In cold weathers, the atmospheric pressure, at times, is too low for the liquefied propane to vaporize quickly as it needs to absorb heat in order to change its state from liquid to gas. In such cases, a heat source, commonly known as a vaporizer, must be used. Liquid propane, in its original form has no smell. An odorant is added to the LP tank before distribution for safety reasons. If there is any leakage or seepage of gas, it can be detected through its odor. Propane is heavier than air. If a leak is observed in a LP tank, the gas will find its way into small areas, causing a high risk of fire and explosion. Therefore, precautionary measures need to be exercised to avoid any mishaps.
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