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View Diary: Texas fertilizer plant claimed it posed no fire or explosive risks (163 comments)

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  •  Sure it is. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, Dogs are fuzzy

    From wikipedia:

    The combustion of ammonia to nitrogen and water is exothermic:

        4 NH3 + 3 O2 → 2 N2 + 6 H2O (g) (ΔHºr = −1267.20 kJ/mol)

    The standard enthalpy change of combustion, ΔHºc, expressed per mole of ammonia and with condensation of the water formed, is −382.81 kJ/mol. Dinitrogen is the thermodynamic product of combustion: all nitrogen oxides are unstable with respect to nitrogen and oxygen, which is the principle behind the catalytic converter. However, nitrogen oxides can be formed as kinetic products in the presence of appropriate catalysts, a reaction of great industrial importance in the production of nitric acid:

        4 NH3 + 5 O2 → 4 NO + 6 H2O

    A subsequent reaction leads to water and NO2

        2 NO + O2 → 2 NO2

    The combustion of ammonia in air is very difficult in the absence of a catalyst (such as platinum gauze), as the temperature of the flame is usually lower than the ignition temperature of the ammonia-air mixture. The flammable range of ammonia in air is 16–25%.

    •  kindof missed my point. (0+ / 0-)

      I am not saying that anhydrous isnt reactive.   But the likelihood of that sort of ignition from purely anhydrous is infinitessimal.  That there likely was ammonium nitrate (produced in part from the ammonia) that was the source of this explosion is pretty obvious.

      •  No. The tanks of anhydrous exploded from the (0+ / 0-)

        heat of a rather large fire.

        •  Is that known? (0+ / 0-)

          if the ammonia was stored as a liquid, and if the tanks' safety valves failed, they would basically turn into bombs once the ammonia boiled -- see any of a number of episodes of mythbusters for this sort of thing (oxygen tanks, water heaters, etc).

          I still have my doubts that would be enough to level such a large area, but that's just guessing.

          •  Get anhydrous hot enough (0+ / 0-)

            and it breaks off hydrogen.  A safety valve venting that stuff near open flame should make a big enough bang to set off any granular ammonium nitrate (which they were known to have tons of).

            I am sure that the immediate concern initially was the irritant/toxic potential of venting NH3, and that the thoughts of nitrate were possibly of the "Well it will burn, but flame alone won't get it to blow".

            Its pretty clear that this place didn't have a good concept of fire control.  That site in any sane place would be no smoking/no open flames/explosion resistant electrical equipment only.  Instead they they have run open trash burns on site (one in Feb, caused an emergency evacuation of the school).

            This planet needs a lot more kids who think taking a lawnmower apart is more fun than playing a videogame.

            by rjnerd on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:09:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  See my comment. (0+ / 0-)

      Or just the title.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 08:49:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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