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Ignition of Flammable Hydrogen & Air Mixtures by Controlled Glancing Impacts in Nuclear Waste Decommissioning


Conditions are examined under which mechanical stimuli produced by striking controlled blows can result in sparking and ignition of hydrogen in air mixtures. The investigation principally concerns magnesium thermite reaction as the ignition source and focuses on the conditions and thermomechanical parameters that are involved in determining the probability of ignition. It is concluded that the notion of using the kinetic energy of impact as the main criterion in determining whether an ignition event is likely or not is much less useful than considering the parameters which determine the maximum temperature produced in a mechanical stimuli event. The most influential parameter in determining ignition frequency or probability is the velocity of sliding movement during mechanical stimuli. It is also clear that the kinetic energy of a moving hammer head is of lesser importance than the normal force which is applied during contact. This explains the apparent discrepancy in previous studies between the minimum kinetic energy thought to be necessary to allow thermite sparking and gas ignition to occur with drop weight impacts and glancing blow impacts. In any analysis of the likelihood of mechanical stimuli to cause ignition, the maximum surface temperature generated should be determined and considered in relation to the temperatures that would be required to initiate hot surface reactions sufficient to cause sparking and ignition.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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Ignition of flammable hydrogen & air mixtures by controlled glancing impacts in nuclear waste decommissioning

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