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Topic: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast  (Read 3758 times)

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Offline curiouscat

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60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« on: April 18, 2013, 01:17:35 AM »
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57580172/doctor-60-dead-and-over-100-injured-in-texas-fertilizer-plant-blast/

This just might be one of the worst Chemical Disasters in a while.

I'm still awaiting reports on what actually happened but just shows how close potential for disaster is with Chemical Plants. Stay safe!

Offline DrCMS

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 04:15:23 AM »
I do hope this does not turn out to be as bad as first reported.

I was on a site in the late 80's which had a ~10T ammonia leak that killed 2 people and that was plenty bad enough for me.

Offline discodermolide

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 06:25:35 AM »
Perhaps this shows the power of an electrostatic charge?
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Offline curiouscat

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 09:46:20 AM »
Perhaps this shows the power of an electrostatic charge?

What is the anatomy of a typical ammonia disaster? Just curious.

Wikipedia says:

"The combustion of ammonia in air is very difficult in the absence of a catalyst (such as platinum gauze), as the temperature of the flame is usually lower than the ignition temperature of the ammonia-air mixture. "


Its explosive range seems pretty narrow too: 15–28%

Autoignition Temp. is high above 650 C.

What makes for such a deadly explosion.

Unless of course it wasn't ammonia but the nitrate etc..

Offline discodermolide

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 09:57:31 AM »
It was probably a dust explosion caused by static electricity. That the factory used ammonia is probably incidental to the tragic event.
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Offline curiouscat

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 10:52:08 AM »

This just might be one of the worst Chemical Disasters in a while.



I take that back. Now they (WSJ) are saying "The explosion killed between five and 15 people."

Still sad but 60 ≠ (5 + 15) / 2.

Offline opsomath

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 03:14:18 PM »
Another discussion, this one I think on Reddit, suggested that it was a runaway exotherm in a batch of ammonium nitrate which was exposed to a fire. That seems believable.

Offline Arkcon

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Re: 60 dead, over 100 injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 03:38:00 PM »
Well, here's a report that, while not addressing the reason for a runaway reaction, and then explosion, at least points to a source of the problem  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/20/17838304-red-flag-texas-plant-had-1350-times-amount-of-chemical-that-would-trigger-oversight?lite  Briefly, there was significantly more raw material on-site than is allowed by Federal oversight.
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