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Crisis Groups For Disaster Management

Explosion in reactor due to Static Charge

In a factory producing Hexamethyl Disilazane, Trimethyl chlorosilane, chlorinated paraffin wax, on 4-5-2002 at about 22.40 hours. there was an explosion in the reactor followed by fire.

In PPFRP Reactor, 300 liter. Water was taken and 1600 kg. HM2 residue (un-reacted/distilled crude TMCS – Trimethyl chlorosilane which contains HMDO (Hexamethyl disiloxane and TMCS) was charged by pump, then PPFRP reactor stirrer was started for 10 minutes. Then it was allowed to settle for 10 minutes. Then water (Acidic) were removed from the bottom valve. The reactor stirrer was stated and 5 to 10% HCL/water mixture was charged. Immediately after that, there was an explosion in the reactor followed by fire. Because of the fire, reactor bottom was broke and 1600 kg. material splashed.

Cause of the incident:
In PPFRP Reactor neutralization was going on. During neutralization process, bottom valve of PPFRP vessel was closed and titanium wire was connected to the gaskets. PVC coated copper wire, which was acting as an earthing wire was broken or loose or because of some other reason the earthing continuity was broken. Static charge, which was generated, was not removed effectively. This came in contact with HMDO, TMCS and toluene vapour, which were present in PPFRP reactor. Which resulted in a fire in the PPFRP reactor.

Area & persons affected:
Because of this fire 2 workers died and 4 received burn injuries. Due to this fire 2 ammonia cylinders burst. HMDO and TMCS, both having low flash point (-1ºC and –20ºC respectively), caught fire and spread into the entire factory. Machinery, equipment of CPW plant and chlorine shed were damaged due to fire. Five chlorine tonner (out of which 1 tonner was full and other 4 tonner were partially filled) exploded due to heat generated by fire. Many drums of raw material and finished products of CPW plant burst. Material in the 2 storage tanks of TMCS and 1 tank of HMDS charred due to the fire. HMDS/TMCS plant was completely destroyed. RCC structure of CPW plant was also damaged.

Action to be taken for non repetition of such incident:

¨ Reactor for carrying out neutralization/washing process shall be made of effective material.
¨ Instead of single earthing, multi point effective earthing shall be provided to reactor for neutralization/washing process and it shall be maintained.
¨ Reactor wherein neutralization -washing process is carried out shall be isolated from other process by fire resistance wall.


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