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  • cause of welding explosion

    Would like to understand the cause of an explosion

    Car was an chromemoly tube chassis car, with electroic fuel injection and a front mounted aluminum fuel cell (in grill area) that was full of alcohol. The guy was welding on the intake (aluminum) throttle linkage area, not sure where his ground was but the aluminum fuel tank exploded and split apart a the seams and caught fire. Would like some opinions on how this could have happened

    thanks

  • #2
    Tank vent? All it would take is one well placed spark

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    • #3
      I'm not sure but I do believe the vent was not anywhere near the weld area. I am well aware of vapors that would be my first guess but I was wondering if welding ac on the aluminum could have produced a spark/arc in the fuel cell (bad welding ground)

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      • #4
        If it was FULL of fuel there should not have been a explosion, no air no fire.
        How ever if just a little bit of air gets in then it will burn.
        With out more info it is all a guess, and mine is air and a spark got in the tank.
        Be safe
        Jeff

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        you will get more than ya need.
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        • #5
          Was anyone injured? More details please. Dave

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          • #6
            The fumes are heaver than air so any vapor escaping would fall to the ground.

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            • #7
              i was unaware that alcohol vapor was so explosive? How big is this tank? I would guess if it was small then it would have to be almost empty to produce enough vapor for a significant explosion. Either way it would seem that the proper precautions were not taken.
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              • #8
                Was it filled with methanol or ethanol? Methanol can burn in an enclosed space like a fuel tank, it's LEL is 4X higher than gasoline.
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                • #9
                  IMO anybody who welds on a component under the hood on an assembled engine is pretty much taking a big risk anyhow. There are batteries and even crankcase fumes to deal with besides the fuel risk
                  I would say that the ground placement would be the key to your answer.
                  I am sort of assuming the tank was for the fuel when using nitrous...if so then the system may have become part of the welding circuit.

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                  Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                  MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                  Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                  Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                  Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                  Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                  Miller WC-115-A
                  Miller Spectrum 300
                  Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                  Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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                  • #10
                    An explosive mixture of air and fuel received enough activation energy to ignite.

                    There are endless possibilities of exactly how that could have happened. Think about the important variables... welding process, fuel level of tank, vent location, temperature of the fuel, ground lead location, ventilation conditions.

                    It is 100% impossible to do more than wildly speculate as to the contributing factors using the limited information you provided.

                    The important thing to note is that fuel vapors do travel and can sometimes be in an explosive concentration many feet away from the source.

                    With more information, such as pictures, we can do more than speculate. But if there is a liability issue, our words won't matter. Someone will have to consult a professional engineer specializing in forensic engineering.

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                    • #11
                      One thing come to mind... the ground may not have been placed close enough to the work so the tank or its mount may have inadvertently become part of the electrical return path.

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                      • #12
                        Spark + Vapors + Atmosphere = BOOM

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                        • #13
                          Simply having current flow through a conductor that is in contact with a flammable environment will not cause an explosion.

                          If the ground clamp was connected directly to the fuel cell, and one or more of the connections in the circuit path were loose, this could have generated enough heat to boil a good deal of the flammable liquid out of the vent.

                          Still, this by itself would not have caused an explosion.

                          80% of failures are from 20% of causes
                          Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
                          "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
                          "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
                          "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by djtracing View Post
                            Would like to understand the cause of an explosion

                            Car was an chromemoly tube chassis car, with electroic fuel injection and a front mounted aluminum fuel cell (in grill area) that was full of alcohol. The guy was welding on the intake (aluminum) throttle linkage area, not sure where his ground was but the aluminum fuel tank exploded and split apart a the seams and caught fire. Would like some opinions on how this could have happened

                            thanks
                            and there he is welding next to the fuel line? the possibility's never stop.
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                            • #15
                              It was the chromemoly tube chasis that caused it (sic)..

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