Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION
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  1. #1
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    Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Folks I got this in a safety e-mail here at work, and feel comfortable saying they are 100% accurate given their origin....I didnt come here to start a fight about anything, just sharing....

    A portable oxygen cutting and welding outfit. ACETYLENE is a flammable fuel gas composed of carbon and hydrogen having the chemical formula C2H2.Whenburned with oxygen, acetylene produces a hot flame, having a temperature between 5700°F and 6300°F. Acetylene is a colorless gas, having a disagree- able odor that is readily detected even when the gas is highly diluted with air. When a portable welding outfit, similar to the one shown in figure 4-3 is used, acetylene is obtained directly from the cylinder. In the case of stationary equipment, similar to the acetylene cylinder bank shown in figure 4-4, the acetylene can be piped to a number of individual cutting stations. Hazards Pure acetylene is self-explosive if stored in the free state under a pressure of 29.4 pounds per square inch (psi). A slight shock is likely to cause it to explode. WARNING Acetylene becomes extremely dangerous if used above 15 pounds pressure. Figure 4-4.—Stationary acetylene cylinder bank. Cylinder Design Acetylene can be safely compressed up to 275 psi when dissolved in acetone and stored in specially de- signed cylinders filled with porous material, such as balsa wood, charcoal, finely shredded asbestos, corn pith, portland cement, or infusorial earth. These porous filler materials aid in the prevention of high-pressure gas pockets forming in the cylinder. Acetone is a liquid chemical that dissolves large portions of acetylene under pressure without changing the nature of the gas. Being a liquid, acetone can be drawn from an acetylene cylinder when it is not upright. You should not store acetylene cylinders on their side, but if they are, you must let the cylinder stand upright for a minimum of 2 hours before using. This allows the acetone to settle to the bottom of the cylinder. NOTE: Acetone contaminates the hoses, regula- tors, torch, and disrupts the flame. Acetylene is measured in cubic feet. The most com- mon cylinder sizes are 130-, 290-, and 330-cubic-foot capacity. The standard size cylinder the Navy uses holds 4-3



    Pictures are the result of an explosion involving an Acetylene /Oxygen rig stored inside a van. Ignition source was a remote keyless entry. Acetylene has one of the widest explosive ranges of the flammable gases.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    continued
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  3. #3
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    even more
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  4. #4
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Holy cow, those are awesome pictures. I hope the guy wasn't in the van.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    That was just posted.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Minner - I don't see how the explosion would have been caused by storing an acetylene cylinder on its side. Is that what the email claimed?

    To me it seems more like there must have been a leak which filled the van with gas, which then was ignited. The cylinders in the picture don't look ruptured.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by denrep; 12-15-2009 at 11:17 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Holy crap

  8. #8
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    this acetylene tank must have had a leak, otherwise a remote keyless entry would definitely not have caused this explosion..... Still a very valuable lesson to be learned from the misshap of others. my only concern is that everyone involved is alright. Equity is replaceable.

  9. #9
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Quote Originally Posted by WelderBC View Post
    this acetylene tank must have had a leak, otherwise a remote keyless entry would definitely not have caused this explosion. . .
    I somehow missed the keyless entry part. For sure then I'd agree it was a leak, but probably not from the tank proper, more likely the hose, torch, or regulator.

    Good Luck

  10. #10
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Quote Originally Posted by denrep View Post
    Minner - I don't see how the explosion would have been caused by storing an acetylene cylinder on its side. Is that what the email claimed?

    To me it seems more like there must have been a leak which filled the van with gas, which then was ignited. The cylinders in the picture don't look ruptured.

    Good Luck
    I don't really know, just passing along the information. But I am guessing the way it reads is that if the cylinders were stored on their side, and there was a leak (abviously) that the acetone leaked off first leaving nothing but pure acetelyene in the tanks to fill the van full.?.?.?

    I don't know about you but I don't plan on experimenting to find out. The safety message did not state the the tanks laying on their side was the culprit, here. As a matter of of fact it said you could store them on their side. You just need to wait two hours before using the tanks.
    Last edited by minner; 12-15-2009 at 11:40 AM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Quote Originally Posted by denrep View Post
    I somehow missed the keyless entry part. For sure then I'd agree it was a leak, but probably not from the tank proper, more likely the hose, torch, or regulator.

    Good Luck
    Leaking reg or torch was my 1st thought also. I know several guys who will just shut off the torch and leave the tank on because the small square wrench on a "B" bottle is a PITA to turn on and off. I don't see any evidence of a reg on the tank valve however. The guy may have had a leaky seat on the valve and it leaked from there.

    I also note there looks like an O2 bottle as well as the acet. tank. Most plumbers just use air/acet torches so the O2 is a bit unusuall.

    Regardless of the cause, it goes to bear in mind that it was in an enclosed vehicle. We get guys wondering all the time why they shouldn't transport tanks in their car. Here's a good example of the worst case senario.
    .



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  12. #12
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    RE:Tanks on their side.

    There looks like there is a Tank holder in the back of the van for storing them vertically.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    This sounds like a case of leaking acetylene, a failure to shut the valve off, and leaking into a confined area. Nothing to do with whether tanks are stored, transported, vertical or horizontal.

  14. #14
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    a friend emailed me these pics last week. it is still shocking to look at the wreckage!

    something is fishy about this though. a keyless entry system set this off? doesn't sound right to me! if so, what happened to the owner. most people are pretty close to the vehicle when they unlock their car......with this large of an explosion, this person would have taken a fatal or near fatal blow!

  15. #15
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    I think the regulation here in Australia is that you can store the bottles in the back of a van if they are in a sealed box with external ventilation.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    I agree that the cause was probably acetylene that leaked into the vehicle creating an explosive mix with air. I also doubt that the orientation of the tank in the vehicle had anything to do with the explosion. Was there any expert accident report or are we just reading the opinions of reporters?

    The keyless entry system itself is an unlikely source of ignition, but an actuating switch or a limit stop switch on the door unlocking mechanism could easily have supplied a spark. If the door actuator is a solenoid it is highly inductive and opening the switch carrying current to the device will produce a spark, even with good arc suppression provided.

    Still a very sobering lesson. Tends to focus the mind..

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  17. #17
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    wow

  18. #18

    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    I understood the explosion was caused by a leaking valve on s cylinder stored in a van, A spark from the automatic door lock mechanism ignited the leaking gas and air mixture causing the explosion.
    My question is how does one safely store B-tanks in a vehicle. Seems as though the regulator must be removed and the valves should be plugged but what about a leaki in the stem packing? B-tanks do not have a safety cap to protect the valve. Any one know anything about how tradesmen can safely transport and store B-tanks? Also I am assuming you cannot store an oxy acetylene rig in a van. (I did for 20 ears before I started using a turbo-torch) Thanks for any information.

  19. #19
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    It reinforces the need to check for leaks and exercise care when using highly volatile gases. Get lazy, get sloppy and stuff happens. Stuff happens twice in a row and all the hens in the hen house start squawking. When the hens squawk the gubmint passes a regulation.

  20. #20
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    wowzers.
    when i got my 130cf acetylene tank filled, i asked if it was okay if i laid the tank down on its side to transport it. (i actually asked before i brought it in) So I would know what vehicle to bring.
    They said yeaa sure, you can throw it on it's side no problem.
    So i threw it in the back of my car on it's side, and drove home... unloaded it.
    no big deal, didnt think anything of it.

    now reading this... o.O

    But looks to be only problematic if it's leaky.
    but then again, even if it's upright and leaky... still goes boom.
    heh.

  21. #21

    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    I think the photos were posted to show the dangers of acetylene, not saying it was because the tanks were laid on their side. I was taught it is much safer to never lay an acetylene tank on its side, but if you have to let the bottle rest vertically, preferrably over night, before using.

    There is no such thing as being too safe, you either are or you are not...

    I thought this post was a very sobering reminder of something I learned probably 40+ years ago, but haven't thought much about lately.

  22. #22
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    RESIDENTS of a Melbourne bayside suburb have been trapped in their street after a massive explosion involving a plumber's van.

    The van exploded shortly after 6am, hurling its contents all over the street and emitting large flames and smoke into the air in Chelsea Heights, south of Melbourne.

    The explosion occurred when two apprentice plumbers turned up and activated a remote control lock on the van.

    The indicators flashed and the car exploded.

    Police did not believe the explosion was suspicious, Kingston Police Inspector Neil Paterson said.

    "It is very unusual for these sorts of things to occur," he said.

    No one was hurt but apprentice plumber Luke Clark was lucky to escape after opening the door of the van before it exploded and being thrown about four metres in the air by the force of the blast.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/dram...-1225789888663


    THE explosion of a van in Chelsea Heights this morning was caused by a leaky acetylene cylinder, police have confirmed.

    http://mordialloc-chelsea-leader.whe...elsea-heights/

    Last edited by BruceTS; 12-21-2009 at 06:28 PM.

  23. #23
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Quote Originally Posted by BruceTS View Post

    . . .No one was hurt but apprentice plumber Luke Clark was lucky to escape after opening the door of the van before it exploded and being thrown about four metres in the air by the force of the blast. . . .
    I'll bet that Luke can now readily identify the smell of leaking acetylene, and if he does, he is sure to not do anything that could cause a spark.
    Last edited by denrep; 12-21-2009 at 07:01 PM.

  24. #24
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Have you ever seen a welding gas supply truck with tanks lying down? NO.

    The tanks are always standing upright.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Storing Acetylene Tanks on their side - EXPLOSION

    Most DOT regulations require that pressurized cylinders be transported upright and secured with the valve covers on them, IIRC

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