Published: Jan 1988
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This paper is concerned with common misinterpretations of information that lead to a false sense of security by those using and designing oxygen regulators and other oxygen controlling devices. The intent is to expose these fallacies for the benefit of our industry. The paper explores the myth that the adiabatic compression of oxygen is the main or only source of ignition in oxygen regulator fires (ORF), a small regulator or valve is safer (less susceptible to ORF) than a larger device, metal diaphragms will contain ORF, relief valves reduce the possibility of operator injury in an ORF, and that regulator valve seats of fluorinated plastic will prevent ORF. Other myths examined include the notion that it doesn't help to disengage the pressure adjusting screw before opening the oxygen cylinder valve, relief valves are superior to bursting discs, in an ORF, and that an attached stem regulator is more resistant to ORF than other designs. The exposure of these myths is based upon my association with the Oxy-Fuel Welding and Cutting Industry for more than 30 years. During this time I have examined many oxygen regulators, by most manufacturers, that were involved in fires. In addition, I have personally conducted several hundred induced oxygen regulator fire tests on regulators of many manufacturers.
oxygen regulator fires, contamination, combustible materials, nonmetallics, ignition sources, adiabatic compression, ignition temperature, combustion energy release
Senior project engineer, L-TEC Welding and Cutting Systems, Florence, SC