Volume 8, Issue 7 (July 2011)
Fire in High Pressure Oxygen Filter: Analysis of an Accident in a Steel Plant
The paper analyzes the causes of an accident that took place in India in 2009 involving a filter in high pressure gaseous oxygen in a tonnage oxygen plant. It resulted in fire, explosion and damage of equipment. The roles of relevant factors behind such fires have been reviewed. Pressure and flow rate data have been analyzed and forensic analysis done in an attempt to reconstruct the chain of events leading to the fire and explosion. It has been concluded that the root cause of the accident is a wrong installation of the filter that resulted in a high accumulation of particles in the pipeline causing high pressure drop across the filter. This eventually caused a rupture in a filter candle creating a high velocity high pressure oxygen jet mixed with large particles impacting the inner sharp corner of the top cover and the bottom flange. The kinetic energy of abrasive mixture of gas and solid particles heated and ignited the sharp corner of the flange and the cover that may have propagated and finally spread as oxygen fire.