In August of 2013, a brother posted on Facebook that he had discovered residuals left behind after evaporating away butane, that he described as “smelling like a tire factory” and labeled the residue Mystery Oil.

To get a sample large enough to analyze, I distilled off a 72 can long case of Lucienne lighter butane, which left approximately 15 ppm residual hydrocarbons behind by weight, and the sample I sent to an outside forensic lab for analysis, provided the following analysis:

Here is a more easily read summary:

Contaminant as found by Specialty Analytical using GC/MS

NOCONTAMINANTCas#
1.0Parts Per Billionth 
1.1Butanal, 3-methyl000590-86-3
1.2Decane, 1,1, oxyblis002456-28-2
1.3Decane000124-18-5
1.43-heptane,2,2,4 dimethyl002213-23-2
1.5Sulfurous acid, cyclohexylmethyl1000309-22-4
1.63-heptene, 2,2,4,6,6 pentamethyl000123-48-8
1.71,2-Dichlorobenze-D4002199.69.1
1.81,4-Dichlorbenze-D4003855-82-1
1.9Oxalic acid, cyclobutyl nonyl ester1000309-70-0
1.101-Octanol, 2-butyl003913-02-9
1.11Oxalic acid, isobutyl octyl ester1000309-37-3
1.121-Bromodocosane006938-66-5
1.13Isooctane,  (ethenyloxy)037769-62-3
1.14Oxalic acid, allyl nonyl ester1000309-23-7
1.141-Hexanol, 2-ethyl000104-76-7
1.163-Octene,014919-01-8
1.172-Propyl-1-pentanol058175-57-8
1.181-Hexanol, 2-ethyl000104-76-7
1.19Dodecane000112-40-3
1.20Tetradecane000629-59-4
1.21Benzenamine, 3,5000626-43-7
1.22Silane, dichloro(3-chloropropyo)003401-26-1
1.231H-Iden-1-One, 6 (dimethylamino)058161-22-1
1.243,5-Dichlorophenyl ethylamine1000306-63-2
   
2.0Parts Per Millionth 
2.12-Pentanol, propanoate054004-43-2
2.22-Bromo dodecane013187-99-0
2.3Octadecane, 1-(ethenyloxy)000930-02-9
2.42-Methylpentyl isovalerate1000236-38-7
2.5Eicosane000112-95-8
2.6N1-(m Tolyl)-N2-tetrahydro332065-24-4
2.7Azetidine, 1-me004923-79-9
2.8Cyclobutane, methylene000292-64-8
2.9Benzene, 1,1-(1,3butadiyne-1,4)000886-66-8
2.10Tricyclodecanedimethanamine026655-37-8
2.116-Octadecenoic acid000593-39-5
2.12Cyclohexane, 1-pentyl015232-85-6
2.134-Pentenal, 2-methylene017854-46-5
2.143-Hexadecene034303-81-6
2.152,5-Furandione, 3-(dodecenyl)025377-73-5
2.16Cyclohexanone,4-acetyl005034-21-9
2.17Oxalic acid, 2-ethylhexl isohex1000309-38-8
2.18Benzofuran-2-one, 4 amino-21000129-51-7
2.191,5,9-Cyclododecatrine000676-22-2
2.20Carbonic acid, decyl phenyl este1000314-57-4
2.21Dicyloxybenzene035021-67-1
2.22Carbonic acid, hexadecyl phenyl1000314-58-0
2.23Carbonic acid, Octadecyl pheny1000314-58-1
2.24Carbonic acid, phenyl tetradecyl1000314-57-8
2.25Phynl 3-deoxy-alpha,-d-ribo-he1000133-06-1
2.266,7-Dioxabicylo(3.2.2)non-8-ene006786-21-6
2.27Beta-d-Mannofuranoside, phenyl093524-17-5
2.28N-Vinyllimidazole001072-63-5
2.29Decanedioic acid, bis (2ethylhex000122-62-3
2.30Glutaric acid, mono-phenyl ester037526-03-7
2.31Carbonic acid, Phynl undec-10-e1000314-57-5
2.32Heptadecane, 2,6,10,14-tetramethyl018344-37-1
2.33Oxalic acid, dodecyl 2-ethylhexy1000309-39-5
2.345-Chlorobenzo(1,2,5)thiadiazol-41000311-77-9
2.35Hexadecane, 1-chloro004860-03-1
2.366-Nitroundec-5-ene1000192-40-3
2.37Butanedioic acid,2,3,dihydroxy013811-71-7
2.38Isoquinoline, 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro029726-60-1
2.39Pyrrolidine, 1-methyl-3-2-spiro04029-14-1
2.40Imidazo(1,2-b)1,2,4, triazine,6094103-49-8
2.412 Propyn-1-one, 1-(2-thienyl)056588-20-6
2.42E-11-Hexadecen-1-o11000130-89-8
2.439-Octadecoi acid000112-79-8
2.44Octadecane, 1-chloro003386-33-2

The next question is how much total Mystery Oil is actually present, and of course the answer is highly dependent on the grade.  With reagent grades like Instrument 99.5 or 99.9 Technical grades, not a lot, but some still apparent when you redistill large batches.

We will get into re-distillation and filtration to improve LPG quality, but for the purposes of discussion, the 99.5% Instrument Grade that we personally use, we get from Apis Labs in Eugene, OR, which measures about 99.9% purity with regard to molecules larger than C-4, and after re-distillation and filtration through an VICI Metronics polishing filter, measured 99.998%.

My own test results and those of the outside lab I selected agreed, but deviated significantly from those propounded by the original Mystery Oil discoverer. 

Rather than worry those differences, here are the results gleaned from other independent sources such as Skyhighler on IC Mag:

NOBrandSizeResidualPercentPPMID
1.0Colibri     
       
1.1 300ml/173gm0.03g.000,1731738/16/2011
1.2  0.03g000,1731738/16/2011
1.3  0.03g000,1731738/16/2011
1.4 300ml0.001g<.000001<1DOM 18.04.13 06:35
       
1.5Colibri270ml/156 gm.0023 gm.00001515NA
       
2.0Fasfil     
       
2.1 300ml0.030g.000173173120718
2.2  0.032g.000185185120718
       
3.0*Gasone     
       
3.1 394 ml/227gm.14 mg.000,000,7.66 
       
4.0Iolite     
       
  300ml0.010g.000, 05858DOM 30.07.13 22:45
       
5.0Iwatani     
       
5.1 8 oz/236.6 ml0.03g.000,220220130506
5.2 136.4 gm0.01g.000,07373130506
       
5.3*Iwatani394 ml /227 gm.00041gm.000,0022NA
       
6.0King     
6.1 300ml0.033g.000,19119112.04.25
       
7.0Lava     
       
7.1 5.3oz(150g)0.033g.000,220220070321
       
       
8.0Lucienne     
       
8.1 300ml/173 gm0.03g.000,173173DOM 16.07.13 13:28
8.2  0.002g.000,01212DOM 16.07.13 13:28
8.3  0.001g.000,0066DOM 16.07.13 13:28
8.4  <0.001g<.000,006<6DOM 16.07.13 13:28
       
8.571 cans21.3 liters .000,01212NA
       
8.6  .0002 g.000,0011.3NA
       
8.7  .0002 g.000,0011NA
       
9.0Neon     
       
9.1 300ml0.004g.000,0212120/12/2012/ (00488)
       
9.2 300ml0.005g.000,02929**20.02.1200413
       
9.3  0.001g.000,006625/05/2012(00446)
       
9.4  0.001g.000,006620/05/2013(00506
       
10.0Newport     
       
10.1 300ml0.01g.000,0585824.04.13 20:33
10.2  0.004g.000,0232326.03.13 19:09
       
11.0Powers     
       
11.10X Korea300ml0.021g.000,121121130819
       
11.2Power 5X 0.02g.000,116116130820
   0.019g.000,110110130731
       
11.37X 0.029g.000,168168120716
       
11.4Powers300 ml/173 gm.34 mg.000,0022NA
       
12.0Ronson     
       
12.1 300ml/165gm0.01g.000,0616111713
12.2  0.001g.000,006611713
12.3  <.001g<.000,006611713
       
12.4Ronson330ml/190 gm.0043 g.000,224224NA
       
13.0Spark 7x     
       
13.1 300ml0.04g.000,231231120404
       
 Stok5.8oz/165g0.023g.000,139139DOM 07.08.13 15:57
       
14.0Vector     
       
       
14.1 320ml0.03g.000,1631632013.04.06
14.2  0.02g.000,1091092013.04.06
14.3  0.028g.000,00662013.04.06
14.4  0.028g.000,00662013.04.06
       
14.5  0.04g.000,2172175/12/2012
14.6  0.04g.000,2172175/12/2012
14.7  0.06g.000,3263265/12/2012
       
14.8  0.03g.000,1631635/13/2013
14.9  0.04g.000,2172175/13/2013
14.10  0.04g.000,2172175/13/2013
       
14.12  0.02g.000,10910912/15/2011
14.13  0.02g.000,10910912/15/2011
   0.03g.000,16316312/15/2011
       
15.0Whip-it!     
       
15.19X320 ml 184 gm0.025g.000,130130130708
  400 ml 230 gm0.003g.000,01313239 M 17:25 1
       
16.0Zippo     
       
16.1 5.82oz/165g0.001g.000,0066H1513

*   Mercaptan odorant added

** Results from Skyhighler and Jackgastche tests http://www.tokecity.com/forums/showthread.php?51333-Lube-inside-canned-butane-Mystery-Oil

***                  Results from Skunk Pharm Research tests conducted in house

****                Results from Specialty Analytical for Skunk Pharm Research

Skyhighler no longer keeps his list up to date, but here is his link to access his list directly:

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showpost.php?p=6099306&postcount=28

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