05 October 2008

BLEVE's ~ LPG Tank Failure Mode Explosions!

I've become very interested in liquid fuel alternatives to petro-gasoline and petro-diesel, including bio-diesel, bio-gas, and others. It was the MIT C3BioEnergy team which first exposed me to Liquid Petroleum Gas or LPG. Which is a fine fuel and quite widely used in various developing countries because of its containerizability. And I was very interested to meet the folks from high-end hiking gear supplier Jetboil when they visited MIT last year at the kickoff of the 2007-8 Yunus Challenge on Indoor Air Pollution. Jetboil also uses an LPG mix to fuel their FluxRing cooking system.

Anyways, once you start getting curious about these things you discover the failure modes. And LPG's most dramatic failure mode is surely the BLEVE or Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion. (Which, I want to emphasize, happens under pretty unusual and extreme conditions, so this is not to cast a negative light on LPG or either of the folks mentioned above.) Check out this one short video BLEVE example -- and go online for many more...

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