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Safety and Health

Roger L. Brauer

Session Seven
25 March 2014


Hazard and Their Control

Explosions and Explosives

Safety and Health ma/March'14

Explosions & Explosives


General Characteristics

Rapid increase of pressure or an excessively high pressure in a confined
space followed by its sudden resulting from rupture of container
Visible flame and a flash of light
A noticeable sound as a crack or boom

Kinds of explosions
2 types of common explosions produce by exothermic chemical reaction
(combustion explosion)

An exothermic reaction that expand rapidly from burning gases to the unreacted material by conduction, convection and radiation
Combustion zone progresses through the material at a rate that is less
than the velocity of sound
not always produce rapid increase in pressure to produce an explosion

Safety and Health ma/March'14

Explosions & Explosives


An exothermic reaction characterized by the presence of shock wave in
the material that establishes and maintain the reaction
Results rapid increases in pressure to produce explosions
Reaction zone expands at rate greater than the speed of sound in the
un-reacted material

Explosions Classification based on Sources

Condense Phase Detonations

Condensed phase materials are highly explosive and propellant
Occur during manufacturing, transportation and use. Exp. Ammonium

Combustion explosions of dust in an enclosure

Dust is distributed in the atmosphere
Activity creates a cloud of airborne dust
Related to L/D

Safety and Health ma/March'14

Explosions & Explosives


Combustion explosion of a gaseous or liquid fuel in enclosure

Buildings, ship holds, boilers with L/D = 1 (length to diameter ratio)
Relatively slow rise in pressure
Over pressure causes the container rupture
Containers with large L/D ratio (pipes, tankers ships)
Turbulence improves mixing and expands the flame, and speed of
Pressure increase rapidly by 20 times, achieving pressure of 15-20

Unconfined Vapor Cloud Explosions

Open air concentration of fuels in vapor form

Cloud dissipate to a harmless condition (concentration is too low) to burn

Ignited as it is released from a container (controlled rate)

If the cloud is ignited and flame accelerated rapidly will result a dangerous
blast wave

Deflagration of Mist
Fuels are dispersed in air in the form of a fog or mist
Concentration within flammable limit creates ignition and produce violent
Safety and Health ma/March'14

Explosions & Explosives


Chemical Reactor Run away or Nuclear Detonation

Structure of nucleus is rapidly rearranged by fission or fusion
In an air, energy is converted into blast wave, thermal radiation, and
nuclear radiation
Run away reactor is very low because the control system availability
Rate of decomposition is much less that a weapon

Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosions (BLEVE)

Rupture of container holding a liquid at a temperature above the boiling point

Rapid boil off and liquid evaporation into vapor state

Sudden expansion throw a part of container to considerable distances

Involving LPG produces fireballs

Explosions of Pressure Vessels Containing non Reactive Material

Pressure vessel with a weak structure (<2psig)
Severe damage from rapid expansion of steam or from a combustion
explosion within the vessel

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Explosions & Explosives

Explosion Hazards

Blast wave Effect

Emanating from explosion

Decay with distance from the source

Force is estimated based on fragment distribution pattern

Thermal effects

Radiation damage is related to the size of the fireball and its duration

Temperature can reach 24000F

Radiant energy dissipates in the distance square

Scatter of Fragments

Depends on the size of explosion & failure mode of materials

Glass fragment easily and scatter

Tougher materials are thrown farther because they do not fragment

Presence of venting and pressure relief devices can affect the degree of
fragmentation and the scatter pattern

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Explosions & Explosives

Control for Explosions

Limit Quantities of Materials

Minimize the material reduces the damage

Prevent Combustible Concentration

Design and manage to prevent combustible and explosive mixture with air

Store fuels and oxidizers in a separate place

Install monitoring equipment

Eliminate Source of Ignition

Keep away or control for an explosive atmosphere (source of heat, fl;ame,


Implement hot work permit system

Restriction to carry any kind of smoking materials, matches, lighters

Electricity grounded system for moving belt, or other source of static


Sealing electrical equipment from dusty atmosphere

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Explosions & Explosives

Control for Explosions

Provide Overpressure Relief

In place for container, including tanks and building

Venting is passive means for minimizing damage

Quantity and design for explosion relief depends on

Rate of pressure rise
L/D ratio
Type of explosive material

Install Extinguisher & Suppression System

Put out the fire that could lead explosion

Use Distance and Barriers

Separate quantities of materials

Withstand a blast wave reduces energy of the wave

Reduce the impact of object shielded by barrier

Provide Remote Controls

Operated during up normal operation (hazard conditions)

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Explosions & Explosives


A chemical compound or mixture of substances used or Intended for the purpose of

creating a rapid self-propagating reaction and explosion.
Energy is released in the form of heat and pressure
Various ways to initiate a reaction :
- Ignition by fire
- Concussion
- Detonation
- Friction
- Percussion

Classification of Explosives (DOT)

Class A
Explosives possess a detonating hazard
Types : black powder, low explosives, high explosives, dynamite,
nitroglycerine, picric acid, lead azide, blasting caps, ammunition
not always produce rapid increase in pressure to produce an explosion

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Explosions & Explosives


Classification of Explosives (DOT)

Class B
Explosives, function by rapid combustion rather than detonation
Types : fire work, flash powder, pyrotechnic signal devices, certain

Class C
Manufactured articles that contain class A or B explosives or both
components in restricted quantities and certain types of fireworks

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Explosions & Explosives



Create damage from heat and pressure waves

Primary hazard is release energy in wrong place and wrong time
Quantity and type of material activated determines the degree of damage
Release in presence of people can cause serious injury or death
Heat and pressure waves
Material thrown by pressure waves
Essential for mining excavation, demolition, and similar activities


Training and licensing of handler, user, and distributors

Manifesting explosives materials from factory to final users

Proper storage (blasting caps and detonator are separated from explosives)

Standards limit the quantities in magazines or in daily use

Specify the distance between stored quantity in magazine

Magazines must meet design specification (fire resistance, impedance to

firearms, physical security, location, etc.)
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Fire Protection & Prevention



Sudden, inward collapse of building or closed container when the external

pressure is greater than the inside with sufficient structure

Inward collapse of building or structure during controlled demolition using


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