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  1. #1
    Road Train Member
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    How explosive is crude oil?

    helloo. just a question
    how explosif is crude oil???if a railroad car would go of the tracks would it be a reason to explode????

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/train-derai...124101421.html


  2. #2
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    Crude oil will burn but it isn't highly explosive. Just messy as all hell.

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  4. #3
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    that is what i was thinking, soo why explosions???

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    The only thing I can think of is that the fire weakened the tanker cars that were carrying the crude oil and then pressure caused the tanks to burst. You shouldn't get explosions with crude oil

  6. #5
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    A train carrying crude oil derailed overnight in the heart of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec's Eastern Townships, sparking a major fire that has brought firefighters from the town and neighbouring municipalities to the area, and led to the evacuation of 1,000 people from their homes.
    Witnesses reported between four and six explosions overnight in the town of about 6,000 people. The derailment happened at about 1 a.m. ET, about 250 kilometres east of Montreal.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/train-derai...124101421.html

  7. #6
    Master FMCSA Interpreter GasHauler's Avatar
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    I wouldn't rely on the press or general public to determined if any product exploded or not. There's no doubt something happen but until there's a good investigation the story will only be a story. Crude oil can be highly flammable or just combustible since there's such a wide range of crudes. Sweet or light crude is more flammable than tar crudes so you'd have to know what was in the tanks cars by reading the MSDS or shipping papers. I would guess that the product got very hot and expanded and there was some resistance on where the gases would go so the tank body just let go. Once the tank was ripped open to the outside air the crude just burns. And it will burn for awhile. It will be too hot to get near so the firefighters will wait some before the take any risks.

    The only other way is if you compress it with heat and then it will explode. Just like diesel pile hammer. There's a cup about the size of your hand at the bottom and when the hammer is on the way down a little amount of diesel is injected into the cup. The hammer has a protrusion that fits into the cup and when it hits the diesel is compressed and bang. It explodes. I don't think there was anything like that on the train.

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  9. #7
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    My guess would be something added to the crude during the extraction process was combustible under pressure and caused the explosions. Solvents that would get flared off during the refining process come to mind.

  10. #8
    Medium Load Member pcfreak's Avatar
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    Pretty much anything will explode if conditions are right. All that has to happen is the air to fuel ratio has to be just right. Gasoline just burns if you light it, but vaporize it, and it explodes. Grain dust will explode due to the ability of a flame to reach more surface area of the fuel.

    You can even see videos on YouTube of dairy creamer lighting up pretty good after being sent airborne. You add a canister that will not bleed off the pressure of product ignition fast enough, and you have one hell of an issue.

  11. #9
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    A lot depends on the type of crude. I've seen condensate called crude and it is a lot more explosive. Typical waxy crude like we have here isn't very explosive at all and sometimes the truck will catch fire and the stinking crude will smother the flames rather than ignite. But other times it'll burn forever. I think it really depends on what exactly this crude oil was and how it was being transported - how hot was it stored, how much vapor was allowed to build up, stuff like that.

  12. #10
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    Gas Hauler is correct... Some crude oil can have high concentrations natural gasoline(this is a volatile liquid) in it. Thus, it can go boom! Some, has natural gas in it, in gas form... also Boom. So it can happen.

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