Explosive gas concentrations – allotment holder blows hut sky high

You need only open the paper to read about another spectacular accident involving a gas explosion and the tragedy that then unfolds. Only last week a number of newspapers including DerWesten reported on an incident in which a 56-year-old man from Dortmund who had been making himself a cup of coffee in his idyllic little allotment blew himself and the hut which he had only finished renovating the week before up when the gas cooker that he had been trying to ignite exploded. The explosion rocked the allotment and sent shock waves through the community and blocks of building stone hurtling in all directions and onto the roof of a nearby school. The man, who suffered serious facial burns and other injuries including damage to his respiratory tract, was able to call emergency services on his mobile phone before being rushed to hospital where he is condition is still said to be critical.

Flammable gases become dangerous when they come into contact with the air, or the oxygen in the air to be more precise. It is the concentration which is decisive. If the concentration is too low, or below the LEL (lower explosion limit) as the experts say, then the mixture is too lean and there is – for the time being at least – no risk of an explosion. Strangely enough there is also no risk when the mixture is too rich, i.e. the percentage of combustible gas or gases in the atmosphere is above the upper explosion limit (UEL), because then there is not enough oxygen in the air for it to become flammable. If, however, the concentration of flammable gas or gases lies at a certain level between these two limits, then there is, as the case above showed, a real risk of an explosion.

The gas which the allotment owner or tenant used would have probably been propane gas – the type commonly used for portable cookers and campers stoves. If the concentration of propane gas in the air lies between 2.1 and 9.5 %, then the atmosphere becomes explosive – with all the resulting consequences.

Different gases have different concentration limits: Natural gas, the gas used by many people to heat their homes, is primarily made up of methane, a gas which becomes explosive when the concentration is between 5 and 15%.

Trust TROTEC then to come up with another measuring device which affords a means of protecting you and your family by detecting gas concentrations that escape from leaks or broken pipes and warn you when the gas concentration is 10% below the lower explosion limit. The BG30 Gasdetektor from TROTEC is such a device – easy to use and especially effective. A small investment which could even one day end up saving somebody’s life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *