Failure Analysis of a Large Blender in a Chemical Plant
On 21 April 1995, the contents of a large blender (6 cu m) reacted and caused an explosion that killed and injured a number of workers at a plant in Lodi, NJ. A mixture of sodium hydrosulfite and aluminum powder was being mixed at the time of the accident. This report focuses on evaluations of the blender to determine if material or mechanical failures were the cause of the accident. The results indicate that the mixing vessel was metallurgically sound and did not contribute to the initiation of the failure. However, the vessel was not designed for mixing chemicals that must be isolated from water and excessive heat. Water leaking into the vessel through a graphite seal may have initiated the reactions that caused the accident.
C.N. McCowan, T.A. Siewert, Failure Analysis of a Large Blender in a Chemical Plant, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Chemical Processing Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.chem.c9001713
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