I work in a manufacturing company specializing in polyethelene foam and I have been struggling to separate butane from air in our warehouse during curing period where all the butane gas used to make our product is just released in the air. I have been thinking of ways how to separate and recycle the butane? Can someone help me?

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    $\begingroup$ Wait... butane in the air, just like that? Well, hopefully nobody is smoking in the warehouse. As for the separation, I'd probably rely on freezing out the butane (it has boiling point about $0^\circ$C). $\endgroup$ May 18, 2016 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure there is enough butane to make recycling worthwhile? $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    May 18, 2016 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ The noble gases tag doesn't seem to be right for butane. And I'd echo matt_black...quantity available to capture could be very small. $\endgroup$ May 19, 2016 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


Butane has pretty high boiling point (around $\ce{0 °C}$). This means, that just cooling air to $\ce{-30 °C}$ should condense a lot (if not all) of butane from it.

However, as I guess, most of butane used in foam production remains in the foam, otherwise the foam would collapse. So, it is very possible that there is not much to recycle in air itself. The gas, of course, will be released eventually, but only when foam itself is destroyed.


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