How explosive is crude oil?

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by dutchieinquebec, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. dutchieinquebec

    dutchieinquebec Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,136
    Thanks Received:
    2,215
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Location:
    Granby.QC
  2. southpaw2153

    southpaw2153 Light Load Member

    Messages:
    126
    Thanks Received:
    84
    Joined:
    May 10, 2013
    Crude oil will burn but it isn't highly explosive. Just messy as all hell.
     
    Jrdude5 Thanks this.
  3. dutchieinquebec

    dutchieinquebec Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,136
    Thanks Received:
    2,215
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Location:
    Granby.QC
    that is what i was thinking, soo why explosions???
     
  4. southpaw2153

    southpaw2153 Light Load Member

    Messages:
    126
    Thanks Received:
    84
    Joined:
    May 10, 2013
    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
     
  5. dutchieinquebec

    dutchieinquebec Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,136
    Thanks Received:
    2,215
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Location:
    Granby.QC
    A train carrying crude oil derailed overnight in the heart of Lac-M├ęgantic 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-derailment-sparks-major-fire-quebecs-eastern-townships-124101421.html
     
  6. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

    Messages:
    5,245
    Thanks Received:
    3,202
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Location:
    Vegas/Jersey
    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.
     
    dutchieinquebec Thanks this.
  7. ncdriver1

    ncdriver1 Light Load Member

    Messages:
    177
    Thanks Received:
    63
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    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.
     
  8. pcfreak

    pcfreak Heavy Load Member

    Messages:
    776
    Thanks Received:
    304
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    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.
     
  9. J Man

    J Man Light Load Member

    Messages:
    157
    Thanks Received:
    44
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Location:
    Middle of nowhere
    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.
     
  10. shredfit1

    shredfit1 Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,290
    Thanks Received:
    544
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Location:
    MN
    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.