Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis
Metallurgical Failure Analysis of a Propane Tank Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE)
A fire in a storage yard engulfed several propane delivery trucks, causing one of them to explode. A series of elevated-temperature stress-rupture tears developed along the top of the truck-mounted tank as it was heated by the fire. Unstable fracture then occurred suddenly along the length of the tank and around both end caps, following the girth welds that connect them to the center portion of the tank. The remaining contents of the tank were suddenly released, aerosolized, and combusted, creating a powerful boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE). Based on the metallography of the tank pieces, the approximate tank temperature at the onset of explosion was determined. Metallurgical analysis provided additional insights as well as a framework for making tanks less susceptible to this destructive failure mechanism.
D. F. Susan, K.H. Eckelmeyer, A.C. Kilgo, Metallurgical Failure Analysis of a Propane Tank Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE), Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 3, Edited By Larry Berardinis, ASM International, 2019, p 483–491, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v03.c9001821
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New Handbook: Volume 11B
Now available in the Digital Library! Volume 11B serves as a reference and guide to help engineers determine the causes of failure in plastic components and make corrective adjustments through design and manufacturing modifications.