Butane is a type of gas that is derived through the refinement of natural gas or petroleum. It is a flammable hydrocarbon that has many uses, including as a fuel source for disposable lighters, for a torch lighter, portable stoves, and many other applications. When burned, its flame can achieve a temperature of about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. The most common form of exposure for many consumers though is simply when they use a lighter. Here are a few questions that often come up:
What is butane?
It was discovered in the early 1900s and is what is known as refined butane, made through the process of refining natural gas or petroleum. Butane is colorless, odorless, and shapeless in its natural form. It is very flammable and inexpensive to produce. The gas has many different uses, such as in refillable or disposable cigarette lighters, camping stoves, torches, and refrigerant. It also serves as a fuel in industrial and commercial settings, primarily for high powered torches used to cut steel and other high strength metals.
How is it refined?
Whip-it! Butane is refined in a four step process once it has been extracted from natural gas or petroleum. The four steps are: Removal of oil and condensate; Remove the water; Glycol Dehydration; and Solid-desiccant dehydration.
How can I determine its quality?
One common method of determining the quality of butane you have purchased is to spray a small quantity at a mirror. Nearly all refined butane contains a small amount of paraffin wax to ensure operation of the lighter or torch; butane that leaves too much paraffin residue may be of questionable quality. Of course, quality is subjective. If butane lasts as long as you expect, or the flame burns as hot as advertised, then you may well be personally satisfied with its overall quality.