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CHEMINFO Record Number: 251
CCOHS Chemical Name: n-Nonane


Chemical Name French: Nonane normal
Chemical Name Spanish: Nonano

Trade Name(s):
Shellsol 140

CAS Registry Number: 111-84-2
UN/NA Number(s): 1920
RTECS Number(s): RA6115000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 203-913-4
Chemical Family: Saturated aliphatic hydrocarbon / alkane / n-alkane / nonane isomer
Molecular Formula: C9-H20
Structural Formula: CH3-(CH2)7-CH3


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless liquid with a gasoline-like odour.

Odour Threshold:
2.3 mg/m3 (0.43 ppm); 60 mg/m3 (12 ppm) (recognition); 108 mg/m3 (21 ppm) (recognition) (8); 3412 mg/m3 (652 ppm) (7).

Warning Properties:
NOT RELIABLE--a wide range of odour thresholds is reported.

n-Nonane is one of the chemical forms (isomers) of nonane (C9-H20). It has many similarities (properties and hazards) to other nonanes. Some information in this record is given specifically for n-nonane. Much information applies to nonanes in general.

Uses and Occurrences:
Solvent; organic synthesis; important component of gasoline and petroleum solvents such as VM&P naphtha and Stoddard solvent; manufacture of paraffin products; paper processing and rubber industry; synthesis of biodegradable detergents; standardized hydrocarbon; jet fuel research and distillation chaser.


Colourless liquid, gasoline-like odour. FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. May accumulate static charge. Vapour is heavier than air and may spread long distances. Distant ignition and flashback are possible. Liquid can float on water and may travel to distant locations and/or spread fire. Central nervous system depressant. High vapour concentrations may cause headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion and unconsciousness and death. Causes skin irritation. Aspiration hazard. Swallowing or vomiting of the liquid may cause aspiration into the lungs.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Concentrated vapour may cause irritation of the nose and throat, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, tremors, incoordination and difficulty breathing. Very high concentrations may cause unconsciousness and death. Specific information is not available, but these are typical effects of exposure to nonanes.(1,2)

Skin Contact:
Direct contact with liquid will cause irritation.

Eye Contact:
Concentrated vapour is probably irritating to the eyes. Contact of liquid with eyes may cause temporary redness and pain.

Ingestion of n-nonane may cause nausea, vomiting, swelling of abdomen, headache and depression. Oral toxicity is relatively low unless liquid is aspirated into the lungs. Aspiration is the "breathing" of a material into the lungs when it is swallowed or vomited. Severe lung irritation (chemical pneumonitis) or lung tissue damage (pulmonary edema) or death can result.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

No chronic effects in humans have been reported.

SKIN: Irritation, and dermatitis (inflammation, reddening and swelling) and possibly tissue death can result from prolonged or repeated contact.(1)


Insufficient information. Probably not carcinogenic.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not evaluated the carcinogenicity of this chemical.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has not assigned a carcinogenicity designation to this chemical.

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not listed this chemical in its report on carcinogens.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
Insufficient information. Probably not teratogenic or embryotoxic.

Reproductive Toxicity:
Insufficient information. Probably not a specific reproductive hazard.

Insufficient information. Probably not mutagenic.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
Information not available

Potential for Accumulation:
Unlikely to accumulate--readily metabolized and eliminated from the body.


This product is flammable. Take proper precautions (e.g. remove any sources of ignition. Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration or, if the heart has stopped, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Skin Contact:
Remove contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Gently blot or brush away excess chemical quickly. Wash gently and thoroughly with water and non-abrasive soap for 20 minutes, or until the chemical is removed. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice immediately. Completely decontaminate clothing, shoes and leather goods before re-use or discard.

Eye Contact:
Quickly and gently blot or brush away excess chemical. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 20 minutes or until the chemical is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. Obtain medical advice immediately. If irritation persists, repeat flushing. Obtain medical advice immediately.

Never give anything my mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, is unconscious or convulsing. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Have victim drink 240 to 300 mL (8 to 10 oz.) of water. If vomiting occurs naturally, have victim lean forward to reduce risk of aspiration. Repeat administration of water. Obtain medical attention immediately.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest). Consult a doctor and/or the nearest Poison Control Centre for all exposures except minor instances of inhalation or skin contact. All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
31 deg C (88 deg F) (closed cup) (13)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
0.8% (13)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
2.9% (13)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
205 deg C (401 deg F) (13)

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Probably not sensitive. Stable material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Specific information not available. By comparison to other hydrocarbons, liquid nonane may accumulate static charge by flow or agitation, since hydrocarbons have low electrical conductivities. Vapour can be ignited readily by static discharge.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Flammable liquid. Can release vapours that form flammable or explosive mixtures with air at, or above 31 deg C. Liquid may accumulate static charge by flow or agitation. Vpour is heavier than air and may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back to a leak or open container. Liquid can float on water and may travel to distant locations and/or spread fire. Can accumulate in confined spaces resulting in a flammability hazard. During a fire, irritating/toxic gases may be generated. Containers may explode in the heat of the fire.

Extinguishing Media:
Carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, alcohol foam or polymer foam. Water may be ineffective because it will cool n-nonane below its flash point.(14) Fire fighting foams are the extinguishing agent of choice for most flammable liquid fires.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or protected location. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapours and toxic decomposition products.
Stop leak before attempting to stop the fire. If the leak cannot be stopped, and if there is no risk to the surrounding area, let the fire burn itself out. If the flames are extinguished without stopping the leak, vapours could form explosive mixtures with air and reignite. Water can extinguish the fire if used under favourable conditions and when hose streams are applied by experienced firefighters trained in fighting all types of flammable liquid fires.
Containers may rupture in the heat of fire. Isolate materials not yet involved in the fire and protect personnel. Move containers from fire area if this can be done without risk. Otherwise, fire-exposed containers or tanks should be cooled by application of hose streams and this should begin as soon as possible (within the first several minutes) and should concentrate on any unwetted portions of the container. If this is not possible, use unmanned monitor nozzles and immediately evacuate the area.
If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray in large quantities to disperse the vapours, to protect personnel attempting to stop a leak. Water spray can be used to dilute spills to nonflammable mixtures and to flush spills away from ignition sources. Solid streams of water may be ineffective and spread material.
For a massive fire in a large area, use unmanned hose holder or monitor nozzles; if this is not possible, withdraw from fire area and allow fire to burn. Stay away from ends of tanks. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discolouration of tank due to fire.
Firefighters may enter the area if positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) and full Bunker Gear is worn.


NFPA - Health: 1 - Exposure would cause significant irritation, but only minor residual injury.
NFPA - Flammability: 3 - Liquids and solids that can be ignited under almost all ambient temperature conditions.
NFPA - Instability: 0 - Normally stable, even under fire conditions, and not reactive with water.


Molecular Weight: 128.26

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 5.23 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.191 ppm at 25 deg C

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: -54 deg C (-65.2 deg F) (8)
Boiling Point: 151 deg C (303 deg F) (2,8)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.72 at 25 deg C (water = 1) (8)
Solubility in Water: Practically insoluble (0.07 mg/L at 20 deg C) (8)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Soluble in all proportions in acetone and benzene; very soluble in ethanol and diethyl ether.(1)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Not available
pH Value: Not applicable
Vapour Density: 4.41 (air = 1) (2,8)
Vapour Pressure: 0.43 kPa (3.22 mm Hg) at 20 deg C (8); 0.59 kPa (4.45 mm Hg) at 25 deg C (2)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: 4240 ppm (0.42%) at 20 deg C; 5860 ppm (0.59%) (calculated)
Evaporation Rate: Not available
Critical Temperature: 321 deg C (610 deg F) (6)

Other Physical Properties:
VISCOSITY-DYNAMIC: 0.711 mPa.s at 20 deg C (0.71 centipoises) (2,6)
SURFACE TENSION: 24.72 mN/m (24.72 dynes/cm) (6)
CRITICAL PRESSURE: 2280 kPa (22.5 atmospheres) (6)


Normally stable

Hazardous Polymerization:
Does not occur

Incompatibility - Materials to Avoid:

NOTE: Chemical reactions that could result in a hazardous situation (e.g. generation of flammable or toxic chemicals, fire or detonation) are listed here. Many of these reactions can be done safely if specific control measures (e.g. cooling of the reaction) are in place. Although not intended to be complete, an overview of important reactions involving common chemicals is provided to assist in the development of safe work practices.

STRONG OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. peroxides, nitrates and perchlorates) - Can increase risk of fire and explosion.(14)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:

Conditions to Avoid:
Static discharge, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources

Corrosivity to Metals:
Not corrosive


LC50 (rat): 3200 ppm (4-hr exposure) (1,9)

LD50 (oral, rat): greater than 15 g/kg (4, unconfirmed)

Skin Irritation:

Application of 0.5 mL of pure n-nonane to shaved skin, under a patch, resulted in significant irritation in rabbits. Application of 50% n- nonane, under the same conditions, did not result in significant irritation.(11)

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Rats tolerated 880 ppm for 4 hours without visible discomfort.(3,9) Rats developed mild tremors, slight incoordination and slight irritation of the eyes and extremities when exposed to 1500 ppm nonane vapours for 6 hours/day for 7 days.(3,9)

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

No effects were observed in rats exposed to 590 ppm, 6 hours/day, 5 days/week for 13 weeks (1,3,9). At 1600 ppm, salivation, mild incoordination, fine tremors and a loss of weight were observed (3,9). There were no abnormalities or indication of tissue or organ toxicity. No signs of pulmonary toxicity or lesions have been observed.(3) NEUROTOXICITY: There is no evidence that n-nonane induces peripheral neuropathy in animals.(3)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Nonane. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th ed. ACGIH, 1991. p. 1139-1140
(2) Cavender, F. In: Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. 4th edition. Volume II. Toxicology. Part B. Edited by G.D. Clayton et al. John Wiley and Sons, 1994. p. 1221-1227, 1237-1238
(3) Ethel Browning's toxicity and metabolism of industrial solvents. 2nd edition. Vol. 1 : hydrocarbons. Elsevier Science Publishers, 1987. p. 318-321
(4) Hazardous chemicals book. 2nd edition. Noyes Data Corporation, 1986. p. 752
(5) RTECS record for nonane. Last updated 9607
(6) HSDB record for nonane. Last revision date: 96/06/06
(7) Ruth, J.H. Odor thresholds and irritation levels of several chemical substances : a review. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Vol. 47 (March 1986). p. A-142 - A-151
(8) Verschueren, K. Handbook of environmental data on organic chemicals. 3rd edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996. p. 1413-1414
(9) Carpenter, C.P., et al. Petroleum hydrocarbon toxicity studies. XVII. Animal response to n-nonane vapor. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Vol. 44 (1978). p. 53-61
(11) Jacobs, G., et al. Evaluation of the test method for skin irritation as prescribed by OECD and EEC. Journal of Toxicology. Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology. Vol. 6, no. 3 (1987). p. 215-225
(12) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health pocket guide to chemical hazards. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, June 1994. p. 234-237
(13) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 325
(14) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Edition II. Volume 2. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 2613C
(15) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Nonane. In: OSHA Chemical Sampling Information. Revision Date: Apr. 16, 2004. Available at: <>
(16) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Hydrocarbons, BP 36-216 deg C. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>
(17) Jacobs, G.A. OECD skin irritation tests on four aliphatic hydrocarbons. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. Part B. Vol. 1 (1990). p. 57-58
(18) Babu, R.J., et al. Assessment of skin irritation and molecular responses in rat skin exposed to nonane, decane and tetradecane. Toxicology Letters. Vol. 153 (2004). p. 255-266

Information on chemicals reviewed in the CHEMINFO database is drawn from a number of publicly available sources. A list of general references used to compile CHEMINFO records is available in the database Help.

Review/Preparation Date: 1997-02-06

Revision Indicators:
US transport 1998-03-01
Resistance of materials 1998-06-01
Bibliography 1998-06-01
Bibliography 2003-04-11
NFPA (health) 2003-04-11
PEL-TWA final 2003-10-30
TLV basis 2004-01-01
Bibliography 2005-04-11
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-04-11
Sampling/analysis 2005-04-11
Bibliography 2006-04-25

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