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  • Acetylene explosion

    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...098#post721098
    Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

  • #2
    Something like that could really ruin your day. That guy is lucky indeed.

    Doesn't acetylene have an explosive range from 4% to 94% concentration, or something?
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    • #3
      Something doesnt seem quite right here to me.

      Regardless, he must not have had the cap on the cylinder, or else a slight "bump" would not have done anything, unless his idea of a slight bump is significantly different from mine.

      And yes, the explosive range of acetylene is quite broad. ~2%-~80%, compared to ~2%-~10% for propane...but they both vary a bit depending upon who you ask.
      Last edited by justanengineer; 12-09-2011, 08:41 AM.
      "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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      • #4
        Note to self:
        Don't put gas cylinders in trunk.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by justanengineer
          Something doesnt seem quite right here to me.

          Regardless, he must not have had the cap on the cylinder, or else a slight "bump" would not have done anything, unless his idea of a slight bump is significantly different from mine.

          And yes, the explosive range of acetylene is quite broad. ~2%-~80%, compared to ~2%-~10% for propane...but they both vary a bit depending upon who you ask.

          Taken at face value, my guess would be that it was a "B" or even "MC" tank that does not have a cap.

          Using an electric window to clear a vehicle of explosive gas would not have been my first choice. At least I'd like to believe I'd know better.

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          • #6
            I've seen a similar pic of a small Japanese PU with a similar outcome. Only in that case the inside light switch on the door set off the acetylene.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dr Stan
              I've seen a similar pic of a small Japanese PU with a similar outcome. Only in that case the inside light switch on the door set off the acetylene.
              Ditto.
              I'm very surprised that didn't happen in this case.
              Hindsight is always 20-20, but in retrospect a baseball bat to the windows would have been the wiser move.

              When in doubt....phone the FD.
              Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
              Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

              Location: British Columbia

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              • #8
                What an idiot. The standard warning from gas suppliers (utilities)in the UK at least, is if you smell gas, do not operate any electrical switches. He's lucky it didn't blow when he started it up to drive out of the garage, at least this way he didn't blow up the house as well.

                Richard

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                • #9
                  The flammable limits for acetylene in air are 2.5% to 81%. That is a very wide range. More important, acetylene is one of the gases that will switch from combustion to detonation, especially in a confined space. Those images look like it detonated.
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                  • #10
                    Yea I think the second he opened the door and smelt the gas, he should of gotten the hell outta there.. And idealy back to his house to turn the power off to the garage!

                    Not sure if the fire department would need to be called.. But then, they likey at least have some hydrocarbon gas detector so they could detect when it was safe to approch the vehical and turn the tank off (or if its just leaking too fast, need to wait till it runs dry... Hmmm, A tank on its side.. would'nt that leak acetone?)

                    Also, Why was a tank being stored inside a truck anyway??? That seems exceptionaly foolish.
                    Last edited by Black_Moons; 12-09-2011, 10:54 AM.
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                    • #11
                      Years ago, I kept my propane torch, striker and fuel tank in an ammo can, a nice sealed container, until.... I went to open the can once and it popped open when I uncammed the latch, accompanied by the strong smell of propane. The tank (schrader?) valve had been seeping.
                      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alanganes
                        Taken at face value, my guess would be that it was a "B" or even "MC" tank that does not have a cap.
                        .
                        that always bothered me, the B bottles not having a cap....disaster waiting to happen.
                        in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                        • #13
                          Another issue with acetylene is that it must only be drawn off the tank when its positioned vertically. If the tank is laying down, acetylene bubbles will percolate off the acetone carrier in the tanks matrix but not be drawn off the valve and can spontaineously explode. Acetylene is actully very unstable at pressure which is why the tank has the porous matrix in it and the acetylene is disolved in the acetone solution.

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                          • #14
                            There are probably hundreds of thousands of plumbers driving around in their vans with their "B" cylinders in the back everyday. There will always be the "freak accident" or highly unusual occurrance, but I suppose we ought to be surprised there are not more incidents.

                            I like the looks of the Lenox "Tanktote":
                            http://tinyurl.com/lenox-tanktote

                            I was reading about the history of Allison the other day and how Jim Allison was linked with "body by Fisher" guy Carl Fisher. They started the Concentrated Acetylene Co with another guy named Avery, and after Avery left, they renamed the company Prest-O-Lite. They were the original folks that came up with Acetylene gas in steel tanks.

                            They had numerous explosions in their early days of manufacturing and filling tanks.

                            I rarely see a plumbing or A/C service vehicle that has their acetylene tanks outside. Come to think of it, the only external rigs I think I have ever seen are the welder guys that come out to a jobsite or fleet maintenance guys.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jim Caudill
                              . They were the original folks that came up with Acetylene gas in steel tanks.

                              .
                              ????? I thought we had the French to thank for that development???

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