The Science Behind Why Plant Explosions Occur

Last updated on: June 11, 2015


Chemicals have become a part of modern society and impact our day to day lives in ways most of us do not recognize.  When used effectively, chemicals make our lives more convenient and comfortable, but, unfortunately, many chemicals are also dangerous.  Although chemicals are not the sole cause of plant explosions, they are responsible for a large number of dangerous accidents in plants and refineries across the United States.  If chemicals are used improperly or negligently, they can cause dangerous and even catastrophic explosions.  Some of the most common workplaces involved in chemical explosions include oil refineries, chemical plants, and industrial complexes

The Elements of a Plant Explosion

There are three main elements that combine to create a plant explosion:  heat, the creation of gas, and a dangerous reaction.  In order for an explosion to occur, chemicals must generate a large amount of gas within a short amount of time.  Often, the chemicals involved in an explosion will become explosive when they come into contact with the oxygen in the air.  When chemicals produce large amounts of gas in a short time frame, even those that are not generally explosive can generate an explosion.  

Heat and dangerous reactions are the cause of many plant explosions.  Gas leaks, most often caused by poor maintenance, result in a number of explosions each year.  When gas leaks come into contact with a source of heat, they begin to expand and can explode.  If a chemical is released within a hazardous area, it can react with a heat source to cause a serious accident.  Sometimes, plant explosions are caused by the use of impure chemicals.  Impure chemicals may produce large amounts of gas, which can trigger a dangerous reaction and ensuing explosion.

Another main cause of plant explosions is boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions.  These explosions are dangerous and can result in fatalities and mass property damage, along with serious injuries.  This explosion can occur when liquids stored within sealed containers begin to boil.  When the liquid heats due to the boil, it will eventually turn into gas which occupies more space than liquids.  The pressure within the sealed container grows as the gasses accumulate and ultimately an explosion will occur when the gas expands beyond the container’s capacity.  

Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions are generally caused by some type of external heat source, such as a fire.  When the sealed container comes into contact with a heat source, the liquid will begin to boil and gasses generate, eventually expanding.  Most explosions involve flammable liquids, but non-flammable substances may also be involved as enough pressure can still cause these substances to explode.  

Zinda Law Group:  Exceptional Texas Plant Explosion Attorneys

Texas is home to a number of plants and refineries that hold the potential to inflict serious injuries or property damage if chemicals are not handled in a safe and diligent manner.  If you have been injured in a plant explosion, the Texas Plant Explosion Attorneys at Zinda Law Group are here to help.  We understand the devastating nature of any plant explosion, particularly preventable explosions caused by negligence.  Our experienced attorneys offer the skilled assistance you need to obtain your maximum compensation.  Our talented attorney team offers a free consultation to new clients and has several convenient office locations in Austin and across Texas.  Do not delay in seeking legal assistance as your right to file a claim following any plant explosion is time sensitive.  Call Zinda Law Group toll free today at 800-863-5312.