The Power to Contain an Explosion!

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The Power to Contain an Explosion! Visaya Weekly Episode 35

Well, to explain how I was able to turn milk powder into an explosive I need to first explain the components of an explosion:

An explosion can be described as a triangle. First, you need fuel. In this case, the fuel is milk powder. Secondly, you need an ignition source. The last and most important thing you need is oxygen.

 #Milkcar

That is why when I try to ignite milk powder on top of the table I’m not able to since the ratio between oxygen and fuel is not ideal.

Now imagine we go to a milk powder production facility and you need to measure the level on the storage silos. In this case, the level instrument should comply with a European Directive known as:

Atmosphere explosive

For milk powder and other dust storage facilities, instruments should be Intrinsic safety “i” or Ex i certified. This means that the instrument will not become an ignition source or they will not heat up to a temperature where they could ignite.

Of Course, milk powder is not the most explosive substances in process automation. If we move to the chemical and petrochemical industries we have dust, fumes, and liquids and that could ignite if the proper instruments are not used.

explosive explosion Milk production factory
courtesy of GEA

Fuels are also categorized by state (gaseous or dust), explosive characteristics and the temperature at which they ignite.

Additionally, ATEX describes the zones in which explosive atmospheres are present and the probability of an explosion happening.

In the oil&gas industries Explosion Proof, devices or Ex d devices are used.

These devices are able to contain an explosion inside its volume. In a field transmitter, for example, you may see that it has a thicker glass that will not allow the explosion gases to reach the surrounding atmosphere.

When you are buying an instrument make sure that it complies with the zone you are buying it for and you have made sure to ask your vendor for support in case the marking is not clear. Before you install your instruments verify that the instruments label corresponds to the required level of protection.

Remember to make sure that:

  • It complies with the zone you are buying it for.
  • You have asked your vendor for support in case the marking is not clear.
  • Before you install your instruments verify that the instruments label corresponds the required level of protection.

In the meantime, thank you for watching and stay safe!

 

Related tags: Approvals ATEX Explosion Explosion proof Explosion proof devices
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