(103b) Ignition Phenomenon: From Electrostatics to Electrical Discharge | AIChE

(103b) Ignition Phenomenon: From Electrostatics to Electrical Discharge


Throughout the world, in many industries, flammable
materials are flowing, spraying, vaporizing, and condensing in controlled
systems on daily basis. On occasion, incidents occur where the flammable
material is released from its controlled environment and has the ability to mix
with an oxidant creating a potentially explosive mixture. If the explosive
mixture finds a sufficiently strong ignition source, severe consequences may
ensue. One of the most sought after questions in the industry is the quantification
of the ignition source.

Throughout history, reducing or eliminating the ignition
source for flammable releases has been paramount. Countless hours have been
spent studying the elusive “where did the ignition source come from” and “how
can we prevent ignition from occurring”. Many avenues exist for creating an
ignition source, but none more treacherous than the realm of electrostatics.
Electrostatically fueled potentials can occur from upset conditions or normal
operations, including vessels and piping that have been bonded, grounded, or

To our knowledge, this provide an initial look which
includes quantum mechanical principals as a mechanism that motivates an
electrostatic discharge, specifically relying upon quantum electrodynamics to
explain the source of ignition. This paper focuses on the ability of insulating
media to develop electrostatic buildup and a subsequent discharge upon the
breakdown of a dielectric, including air.


This paper has an Extended Abstract file available; you must purchase the conference proceedings to access it.


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