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Failure analysis of a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher

  • T. Dalton
Peer Reviewed Articles

Abstract

Fire extinguishers are a familiar sight on domestic and commercial premises, and although their presence usually goes unnoticed, they can literally be a lifesaver when the need arises. There are several different kinds of extinguisher, and in the case of the carbon dioxide type, they are charged to extremely high pressure and therefore contain a vast amount of stored energy. As such, the consequences of failure can be very serious. In this study, a situation is described where poor servicing practice meant that, rather than improving the safety of factory workers, the extinguishers themselves posed a serious threat to their well-being. The extinguishers were, in effect, time bombs in disguise. Following an explosion of one of the extinguishers, the owner took the responsible approach of commissioning a metallurgical investigation, which prevented further and potentially more serious incidents.

Keywords

ammonia brass stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) 

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References

  1. 1.
    “The Fire Procautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997,” Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    “The Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999,” Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    “Fire Extinguishing Installations and Equipment on Premises, Part 3: Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers—Code of Practice,” BS 5306-3:2000, British Standard.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “Periodic Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Transportable Gas Containers (Excluding Dissolved Acetylene Containers), Part 3: Specification for Seamless Aluminium Alloy Containers of Water Capacity 0.5 Litres and Above,” BS 5430-3: 1990, British Standard.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    “Recharging Fire Extinguishers (Manufactured to BS 5423, ‘Specification for Portable Fire Extinguishers’), Part 1: Specification for Procedure and Materials,” BS 6643-1:1985, British Standard.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Dalton
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal and SunAllianceManchesterU.K.

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