Methane / CH₄


Gas Identification

Other denomination

Methyl hydride

CAS Registry Number
SCBA type

Chemical properties

Molecular formula
Molecular mass

Physical properties

Boiling point
-161,52 °C
Autoignition temperature
537 °C
Gas/Vapour density
15,43 eV

Flammability limit

5 % v/v
15 % v/v

Threshold limit value


Methane : Description and use


Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, and the first of the alkane family. It was discovered and isolated by Alessandro Volta between 1776 and 1778. It is found in abundance in nature. It is a high-potential fuel as there is a strong energy release. Gaseous under normal temperature and pressure conditions, it can generally be transported in this state via pipelines, or via an LNG carrier in liquid state and more rarely via lorry. Methane is available in various qualities depending on its intended use and the purity required. Commercial grade methane is generally found in the workplace.
As this gas is odourless and flammable, a very small quantity of odourising agent is added to it so that any leaks can be detected. This chemical fragrance is generally made up of mercaptans of low molecular weight. It is a colourless and odourless gas in either liquefied or compressed form.

Flammability: Methane is a highly flammable gas. When it burns it produces a pale, slightly luminous flame. It catches fire quickly in air in the presence of a source of static electricity, a spark, an open flame or any other source of ignition or combustion.
Explosiveness: Methane forms an explosive mixture with air when found in concentrations of between 5.0 and 15.4%.


Methane is used in the chemical industry in the synthesis or manufacture of several products including:

  • acetylene
  • methanol
  • ethanol
  • ammonia
  • chloroform
  • hydrocyanic acid
  • methyl chloride
  • methylene chloride
  • carbon black

Methane is also used in various procedures, such as:

  • the production of carbide and diamond films using chemical vapour deposition
  • the manufacture of synthetic proteins

Methane : Warnings and caution

GHS hazard statements

H220 - Extremely flammable gas.
H280 - Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated.

GHS precautionary statements

P210 - Keep away from heat, sparks, open flames, hot surfaces. No smoking.
P377 - Leaking gas fire: Do not extinguish, unless leak can be stopped safely.
P381 - Eliminate all ignition sources if safe to do so.
P410+P403 - Protect from sunlight. Store in a well-ventilated place.
P501 - Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/national/international regulations.

SGH02 : Inflammable
SGH04 : Gaz sous pression