Explosion Protection

Fire and explosion can occur in many industrial and commercial Premises. Inburex Department of Explosion Protection produces explosion reports and develops protection concepts taking into account the hazardous material used, its equipment and the special characteristics of the respective industries, in which the process exists.

Fuel - Oxygen - Ignition

These three components in the right proportions can cause an explosion.

 

In practice these proportions may take decades to happen. A small change in the process, can have catastrophic consequences. A single rupture disc alone does not provide effective explosion protection, unless it is known where the dangers lurk in the process. An over-cautious interpretation of these 3 components can cost a lot of money, while still not adding to your security.

With relatively simple preventive measures, major damage can be avoided.

The basis of safety must be clearly defined. To this end, the interplay of products, processes, systems and operating modes must be analysed, in order to develop a comprehensive protection concept.

Only a complete risk assessment, starting with the characterization of the processed substances, the classification of your equipment, up to the definition of the protective measures, gives you the certainty that you have done what is right. For this purpose, competent partners are at your disposal at Inburex. 

These experts are involved in the development of these national and international safety standards which decide if your plant is compliant. Multiple protection systems added on a just in case basis can be expensive and does not necessarily result in your increased safety.

  

 

Over-pressure and Explosion Protection

Where prevention techniques and systems alone do not have the necessary robustness, over-pressure protection will be required.

Chemical Reaction Hazards

In the case of uncontrolled chemical runaway reactions, safety options may include enhanced process control measures linked to:

  • Multiphase flow reactor venting with safe secondary collection / containment
  • Reaction inhibition by timely injection of control agents
  • Dumping of vessel contents to a safe area
  • Drown-out of the reaction resulting in cooling and/or dilution

Where there is sufficient evaporative cooling, a correctly sized reactor vent and disposal system can ‘temper’ a runaway, as shown in the diagram.  Controlling the reactor venting pressure prevents the reaction rate increasing and this can be achieved with vents of modest size.  Care is needed, however, to ensure that a secondary (and more violent) decomposition cannot arise when the solvent (providing the evaporative cooling) has boiled off!

Operational Hazards

Similar methods are employed for fuel-air explosions arising from deflagrations:

  • Explosion venting to a safe area with cognisance of secondary effects such as external over-pressures and/or thermal radiation hazards from the vented fireball
  • Flameless venting of plant and equipment inside buildings
  • Suppression of explosions leading to total containment with zero environmental impact
  • Hybrid systems comprising both suppressions and pressure relief

These techniques may not provide complete protection since consideration is required of interconnected equipment and supplementary trips / isolation features such as rotary valves, slam-shut valves, chemical barriers or explosion chokes (diverters), etc.

Our consultants help clients to gain an understanding of the potential explosion hazard and select the most appropriate ‘basis of safety’; simply bolting on protection systems is not a cost effective approach.