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  1. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Southold, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBeerme View Post
    Not sure what you are talking about. Pretty sure this is the article I remember. Don't know what any follow up forensic investigation may have revealed.
    Im thinking of a different article!

  2. #41
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Bay Area California
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    How many refrigerators exploded before they began using flammable refrigerants?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reihna View Post
    It is actually possible for a refrigerator to explode. The refrigerator is a heat mover and uses a refrigerant that is under pressure. The fluid is heated by heat inside the refrigerator unit, and the compressor puts pressure on the fluid causing it to release the heat outside the refrigerator. A weekeness in the pressure vessel containing the refrigerant can result in a catastrophic failure and in some cases the refrigerator itself can be destroyed in the resulting explosion.
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

  3. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Madison, WI
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECtofix View Post
    If it was due to a HC refrigerant, it's probably R600A (Isobutane).

    R600A is heavier than air, so would have pooled in the bottom of the freezer/fridge compartment as a vapor (maybe the same level as the defrost heater?). Wherever the transition between the air and fuel vapor was, someplace in that can be the right flammable mix of 1.8 to 9.6% fuel-to-air.

    Others commented about nothing being scorched. An explosion from gases in vapor form RARELY results in a fire. It quickly blows itself out as all of the flammable gas is almost immediately used up in the explosion.
    I've witnessed that myself (very recently)...and from reading about the New London Texas school explosion in 1937 stating that, although the building was completely destroyed and MANY lives lost, there was no evidence of any fire in the aftermath..

    The amount of HC refrigerant couldn't have been more than 2.0 oz (57 grams). That may not seem like much, but it'd be like dumping the gas from twelve Bic lighters into a small, airtight space and igniting it. When it lights off, it's GOING to expand VERY VIOLENTLY. Beings that it was enclosed in such a tight structure, that made it all the more violent since that structure (the refrigerator) rapidly expanded outward.
    Going off of this....let's use a 20 cubic ft compartment. The density of air is roughly 0.075 lb/cu ft....20 x 0.075 x 16 oz/lb = 24 oz

    With 24 oz of air, to get to 5% butane, we would need ... 1.2 oz. 1.2 is less than 2 oz, so its suddenly feasible that if the butane charge vented into the box, there would be a period of time when it would fall between the LEL and UEL. If there were a spark during that time, we would have an explosion.

    I don't think there would be scorch marks nor do I think anything would catch on fire. It would simply release a lot of energy in short time.

    My personal experience is a propane explosion (very old furnace), ammonia (multiple times) and a microwave clothes dryer. Only in a few of the ammonia incidents were there scorch marks. On the microwave clothes dryer, we would throw a butane lighter in for a test. It would boil off before the clothes finished drying and then the first spark would ignite it. The door always blew open and there was often damage to the drum but nothing ever caught on fire or left scorch marks.

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