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Does Gas Eat Through Plastic? Will Plastic Melt? (Explained)

Gas is a common flammable fuel element that is used to ignite sparks in the internal combustion engine. Gasoline is also used as a liquid fuel in the household. Gasoline is easy to ignite, and it evaporates and freezes more readily.

It is essential to store gasoline in a safe container as gasoline will eat through any ordinary vessel.

There is a major curiosity regarding whether gas can eat through plastic. This article will provide an in-depth answer and offer you deep insights about the corrosive effects of gas on plastic.

Does gas eat through plastic? Will plastic melt?

Gas eats through certain types of plastic, for example- plastic bags and containers.  These types of plastic will easily melt. But the high-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) gasoline resistant plastic is available in the market that will hold the corrosive effects of gas and won’t melt.

Gas eats through some types of plastics. Low quality and short durability plastics are susceptible to corrosion and heat. Gas will easily melt those kinds of plastic. But there is special plastic available in the market that will hold the corrosive effects of gasoline.

Plastic-made products such as plastic bags, cups, containers are prone to deformation and melting in contact with the gas. Gas only eats through plastics because of the similarities in their chemical structures.

Gas and plastic both are hydrocarbons. That’s why gas can easily interact with plastic’s structural and chemical compounds. Plastic bags and containers are prone to damage in contact with gasoline or gas. Gas can eat through these materials within minutes.

For this reason, plastic having strong chemical bonds, high durability, and melting temperature should be used to handle gas or gasoline types of flammable fuels. Gas doesn’t eat through these plastics.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a special type of plastic made to withstand the corrosive effect of the gas.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) won’t melt in contact with the gas. These are readily used where the plastic might get in contact with gas or gasoline.

Plastics made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) are commonly used in gas barrels and cans as they can withstand high heat and shield gas from the outer environment.

Why does gasoline melt plastic?

Gasoline is a flammable hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons are organic compounds made from combining the atom hydrogen and carbon. Similar to gasoline, plastic is another hydrocarbon that is synthesized from the polymerization of the hydrocarbon ethylene.

Gasoline eats through and melts plastic only because of their similarities in chemical structure. The chemical bonds inside gasoline can easily interact with molecular bonds within the plastic.

Ordinary plastic’s low structural stability is another reason. Plastic bags, cups, and cheap plastic containers are not entirely chemically stable though they look stable. But when in contact with a corrosive agent, these types of plastic will melt easily.

But plastics made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) remain in a structurally stable state.

Those won’t react and melt in contact with gasoline easily. These types of highly durable plastics are specially made to withstand high heat temperature and corrosive effects.

For such reasons, gasoline doesn’t melt the high density and heat-resistant plastic.

How fast does gasoline eat through plastic?

Gasoline can freely interact with the molecules of plastic. Five to ten minutes is enough for gasoline to eat through low-density plastics.

Gasoline eats through low-quality plastics pretty fast. Gasoline will dissolve or damage low-quality plastics with lower structural stability within minutes.

Most of the plastic products are manufactured using compounds that originated from petroleum.

Similar elements are naturally dissolved in structurally identical liquids. Because both gas and plastic originate from hydrocarbon, gas or gasoline easily reacts with plastic.

But some plastics are gasoline resistant, and gasoline doesn’t react with them. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is structurally modified to improve the heat stability and durability of plastic.

Plastic products made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) are corrosion-resistant and chemically inert. And that’s why gasoline won’t melt the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) products.

Can you put gasoline on plastic bags, plastic cups, 2-liter plastic water bottles, plastic milk jugs, or plastic barrels?

You can’t put gasoline on plastic bags, plastic cups, 2-liter plastic water bottles, plastic milk jugs, or plastic barrels. Gasoline will easily melt them and make a mess. It is dangerous to store gasoline on these types of plastic containers.

Gasoline is highly corrosive, and it melts low-quality plastics, rubber, super glue, etc. Corrosion and heat-resistant specialized plastic products are made with the intention of holding gasoline.

HDPE made plastic barrels and cans are used to shield and insulate gasoline from the outer environment.

But plastic bags, cups, water bottles, barrels are susceptible to gasoline, and they will melt within minutes.

Don’t put gasoline in low-quality plastics as it will damage the plastics and bring on harmful situations. Remember, gasoline is a highly flammable element. That’s why storing gasoline in ordinary plastic containers wouldn’t be a good idea.

What type of plastic can hold gasoline?

High-density corrosion-resistant plastics can hold gasoline. Those specially produced plastic barrels and jars can withstand high heat temperature and resist swelling, softening, and deformation.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is readily used to make gasoline holding jars, bottles, containers, barrels. High-Density Polyethylene is thermostable plastic with high strength to density ratio.

These plastics have a high melting temperature value of 130.8° C. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) can resist high heat because of the improved compound density, little amount of structural branching, and stronger intermolecular bonds between the molecules.

Durable plastic pipes, bottles, containers, barrels are made using High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Gasoline and other petroleum-derived flammable fuels are stored in those containers.

What can I put gas in if I don’t have a gas can?

Gas is risky to store in any unapproved container. As gas is a highly flammable corrosive element, ordinary containers will melt in contact with it.

Low-quality plastics are also prone to deformation, and leakage in the container can be tremendously dangerous. Gas can be stored in a metal container if you don’t have any plastic barrels.

Department of transportation or DOT-approved containers is considerably safe for storing gas or gasoline. Nationally and internationally acclaimed laboratories undergo rigorous testing of numerous plastic containers before they provide the DOT approval.

There are now various Department of transportation or DOT-approved containers available in the market. DOT requirements must be maintained while manufacturing gasoline containers to get approval from the Department of transportation.

Special DOT requirements:

  • You can only store 5 gallons or less gasoline in a DOT-approved container.
  • The container must contain a self-closing lead to vent excess pressure.
  •  The container must contain a deflagration arrester embedded in sprouts.
  • The container should have a rugged handle drop protection system for damage prevention.
  • A filling cap with hold-down locking brackets must be attached to the container to prevent accidental spoilage during transport.
  • The container must be made of heat-resistant High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE).

Can I put gasoline in a blue kerosene container?

You can’t put gasoline in a blue kerosene container. Kerosene is easier to store than gasoline because it is less volatile and doesn’t easily freeze and evaporate like gasoline.

Kerosene is more chemically stable compared to gasoline, and it is stored in a blue container. But still, you have to follow EPA guidelines while storing kerosene.

On the contrary, gasoline is highly flammable, has a lower shelf-life, and could easily ignite. Putting gasoline in a blue container can be dangerous as it can easily burst into flames and ignite a house or a residential area.

You must put gasoline in red gas a can, and the container must meet up with the regulations approved by the Department of transportation or DOT. Don’t put gas in the ordinary DOT unauthorized plastic containers. It will be harmful.

Is pet plastic gasoline resistant?

PET plastic or polyethylene terephthalate is resistant to gasoline. Though high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is commonly used, PET plastic can be an alternative option to store gasoline.  

PET is a common thermoplastic polymer that is used in various food containers and bottle manufacturing.

PET has a high melting point (250° C – 260° C). PET products can withstand high temperatures and oxidizing environments because of their strong structural integrity.

Because of the high melting temperature, gasoline won’t dissolve Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Also, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a highly durable plastic that can hold out crucial conditions.

That’s why PET plastic products can be used to store gasoline. But storing gasoline in High-Density Polyethylene will be the most feasible option.

Final thoughts

Gasoline will dissolve some types of low-quality plastics. But corrosion-resistant High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) products that won’t melt when in contact with gasoline are available. That’s why gasoline is usually stored in jars, barrels, and containers made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE).