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  • O2 Cyclinder explosion investigation results..

    Found this on another forum

    An investigation of an E-cylinder of oxy that exploded when someone was backing the valve out..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lw_fhNAIQc

    Some lost an arm..

  • #2
    From the amount of energy released I would say the tank had something other than oxygen inside. Some how somebody screwed up filling the tank or the acetylene leaked back into the tank some how after the O2 was depleted.

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    • #3
      That's the medical size oxygen cylinder. There should not have been contamination from another gas.

      I remember seeing pics of a shipboard N2 plant that was destroyed when a unsecured/uncapped high pressure tank fell over and knocked off the valve.

      There was also an episode of Myth Busters where they shot a high pressure tank through a concrete block wall. They turned it into a missile by guillotining off the valve.

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      • #4
        Was there pressurized O2 in the tank when he was attempting to remove the valve? It would never occur to me to work on one of those cylinders under any circumstances.

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        • #5
          Aluminum Cylinder
          Chain Clamp
          Full tank of O2

          Not a good idea period

          There have been other failures of Aluminum O2 tanks..small ones ?

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          • #6
            Has there been an outcome to this investigation as to what was the ignition cause? Oil/grease?

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            • #7
              shop full of pure oxygen = any oil/grease in the shop would ignite the.. shop.
              Flames in pure oxygen envorments spread like everything is covered in gasoline.

              And yea, mythbuster also managed to detonate a tank, it bulged a shiping container with the shockwave released.
              Iv seen pictures of refilling stations basicly DESTORYED like a bomb went off when a tank ruptures.

              I doubt there was any fuel required to produce the pictures in that shop.
              Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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              • #8
                I wonder what happened first- did the tank rupture somewhere along the cracked line, then all hell break loose- or did the contents ignite first, rupturing the tank and causing the rest of the damage-

                If the contents ignited first, then what could have caused that? I could see that if the contents were knock-sensitive, like acetylene is, that would do it. I'm not aware that oxygen is shock-ignitable- maybe it is, or maybe something sparked inside the moment the valve body moved in the threads- guessing here of course, but this is something where the right answer would be good to know.

                Maybe he actually broke the valve by wrenching on it, and that's where it all started. As far as the source of ignition- maybe there was a spark, maybe oxygen blew onto a combustible and self-ignited-
                Last edited by darryl; 05-04-2010, 09:23 PM.
                I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                • #9
                  I used to work for Airco, at the corporate labs in Murray Hill. We did a lot of investigations on exploded gas cylinders. This one is pretty typical, as are the errors in the narrator's statements. This is a case of a pressurized aluminum cylinder failing because it was nicked by the teeth on the fixed part of the pipe vise. Aluminum cylinders have much less tolerance for damage than steel ones. The nicked cylinder ripped open, the main body went one way and the top the other, with the valve still attached. The valve snapped off on impact. Nothing in the pictures is atypical of a cylinder that blew from external damage, the "melting" is actually abrasion from impact and is often seen in these cases. My two favorite blown cylinder cases were an O2 cylinder that someone had marked his initials on with an angle grinder (the initials ID him) and an N2 cylinder that had it's base blow off because the shed it was stored in had a leaky roof and the cylinder wound up sitting in a few inches of water. Intergranular corrosion weakened the steel, and the cylinder took off like a rocket. The base got used as an ashtray in the lab.

                  Joe

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by darryl
                    did the contents ignite first,

                    If the contents ignited first,
                    Oxygen dosent burn or ignite or explode. Now it sure does help any
                    thing that will burn go VERY fast.
                    ...Lew...

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                    • #11
                      OC has it nailed,one little nick in a tank wall is all it takes.
                      I just need one more tool,just one!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon
                        I used to work for Airco, at the corporate labs in Murray Hill. We did a lot of investigations on exploded gas cylinders. This one is pretty typical, as are the errors in the narrator's statements. This is a case of a pressurized aluminum cylinder failing because it was nicked by the teeth on the fixed part of the pipe vise. Aluminum cylinders have much less tolerance for damage than steel ones. The nicked cylinder ripped open, the main body went one way and the top the other, with the valve still attached. The valve snapped off on impact. Nothing in the pictures is atypical of a cylinder that blew from external damage, the "melting" is actually abrasion from impact and is often seen in these cases. My two favorite blown cylinder cases were an O2 cylinder that someone had marked his initials on with an angle grinder (the initials ID him) and an N2 cylinder that had it's base blow off because the shed it was stored in had a leaky roof and the cylinder wound up sitting in a few inches of water. Intergranular corrosion weakened the steel, and the cylinder took off like a rocket. The base got used as an ashtray in the lab.

                        Joe
                        I did not look carefully so the teeth were over looked. Why in the world would some body remove a valve from full cylinder, I would at least empty it or was the valve malfunctioning?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by squirrel
                          I did not look carefully so the teeth were over looked. Why in the world would some body remove a valve from full cylinder, I would at least empty it or was the valve malfunctioning?
                          Boatyard I worked in had an accident where a green hand not knowing an Oxygen reg unscrewed from the bottle valve unscrewed the valve out of the bottle instead.

                          It worked out okay,after re-constructive surgery put his jaw and face back together.He didn't know,was too embarrased to ask and ended up nearly getting killed.

                          In an industrial environment if you don't know,find someone who does and ask.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OC does have it correct, the valve was damaged and the cylinder was full pressure,he never checked to see if the cylinder was empty.The guy lived, the red splattered all over was from the guy working on it's arm being ripped off. Just another reason to be skeptical of things posted on the net with out full disclosures of who and what is posting the info.
                            Glen
                            Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                            I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                            All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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                            • #15
                              'oxygen doesn't burn, ignite, or explode'- that, and what Joe said about nicks in aluminum tanks- my feeling is also that the tank got weakened in spots because of the clamping method, then a crack propagated at high speed and it was all over.

                              So far I had been assuming there was fire- now it appears the only heat was from the friction of escaping gas. Still doesn't explain how the valve got to look like that, unless it looked like that before the accident. Also, once the tank broke in half and the top took off, there would quickly have been little pressure left to burn through the broken-off orifice, which presumably didn't break off until it hit something-

                              Regardless, this was a tragic incident and can now only serve to remind of the dangers inherent in pressure vessels and various gasses, also in the mechanicals involved (left hand, right hand threads) and chemistry (I didn't know until recently that oxygen valves cannot use lube or it could self-ignite)

                              The victims premise from the start seemed ok to me- crack the threads just enough to allow pressure to escape, then wait before fully removing the valve body to replace it- how else could this job have been done? Obviously, the first thing would have been to clamp the cylinder properly so it wouldn't have been damaged- or would the job have been better done by a bomb disposal unit?
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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