The real disaster in Kaohsiung - the southern Taiwan.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ScottWang, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. ScottWang

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    Aug 23, 2012
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    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  2. alfacliff

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    Dec 13, 2013
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    gas is heavier than air, it settles into the sewer system and blows the whole thing apart. been some like that here when some fool dumped gasoline into the sewer when cleaning a tanker truck.
     
  3. ScottWang

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    Aug 23, 2012
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    How about the situation of damaged of the case you mentioned?

    I was read some other news that talking about before the explosions, a leader of the police officer leading some police officers went to checking the gas leaking, the leader just told the other officers should be care when the explosion happening should take care the head and lying on the ground, but when the explosion real happened, the leader was died in that explosion, one of the officer said the explosions one by one just like the special effects of the movie, but it's really terrifying.

    The Cnn news.
     
  4. jpanhalt

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    What "gas" are you talking about? Not all gases are heavier than air.

    John
     
  5. GopherT

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    The gas was not natural gas, but propene, more commonly called propylene here in the US. It is the monomer for polypropylene and the raw material for acrylic acid (acrylic esters and methyl methacrylate - used to make acrylic polymers / latex and acrylic adhestves).

    These type of pipelines are commonly multi-use and transfers of one chemical for a few days, then valves changes, a 'pig' or 'mole' (a rubber plug) is pushed through with nitrogen pressure to clean it. Then another chemical is transported for a few days.

    It sounds like a pipe failure is possible (hydrogen embrittlement / carbide reduction / ...). Or, it could have been that peroxide or other oxidizing agent was used in the pipe and the propene started reacting (burning) when flow started. Propene is normally handled as a compressed liquid (like propane). Therefore, the pressure of the liquid suddenly combusting in the pipe was too much pressure and the pipe burst.

    The most interesting part here is that the pipe kept bursting along its length - even when the back pressure is limited by a rupture point. More information will be needed to determine how the flows were pressurizing in the lines, what the previous and next molecules were to really pin it down. I doubt it was a pipe / corrosion failure. It is much more likely a communication/operator error.

    There should be a multi-site/ multi company lock-out/tag-out procedure to prevent any errors. Unfortunately, Taiwan petro-chemical manufacturers haven't had a very good safety record in the past 3 to 5 years. No news was good news in the past 18 months or so but this incident resets the clock.

    Finally, I am disappointed that this story didn't make my national news (NBC). Thanks for posting this, Scott.

    EDIT: propene has a molecular weight of 42. It is slightly heavier than air (about 29 on average - 21% oxygen/78%nitrogen). It is a little heavier than air but a little wind negates that for the most part. For comparison, gasoline - octane vapor - is 114. Much heavier than air and you still easily smell it and face level. "Heavier than air" helps but is not an absolute, especially in outdoor or turbulent air.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  6. MrChips

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    Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
     
  7. ScottWang

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    I have the same thought.
     
  8. ScottWang

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    I have read some more details about the news, the mayor of Kaohsiung city asked the president Ma to promise not to pass the industrial pipes through the city, and before the explosion, already has the gas leaking, the people called to 4 or 5 units of the gas companies which have been used the pipes, but it seems no any company want to take care of it, so it happened like this.

    So I think the gas was not natural gas, maybe is the propene or propylene, because some experts said that meterial in Chinese "丙烯" pronounciation - bingsi, and the propene or propylene are the same meaning in Chinese.

    Every country could be happen like this, if the goverment giving force to the companies, then maybe the disaster may not happen or make it smaller.

    About 18 years ago, another natural gas explosions far from my place about 0.5 km, and they spreading about 0.3 km area, but I wasn't lived here during that time.
     
  9. GopherT

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    I will let you know when this comes across the process Safety Journals. The results of the initial inquiry should be posted in a few days and results of any investigation take 6 weeks to a year.
     
  10. GopherT

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    Ok, I read some more and I also contacted a friend (he is currently in the US but had been updated earlier today by a friend in Taiwan).

    LCY Chemical was receiving Propylene from China General Chemical. Pressure drop was noted by LCY but did not inform China General. A pressure drop is a sure sign of a leak or process upset. Normally, the company noticing an unexplained event should contact the supplier and/or the pipeline owner immediately to determine why the event occurred.

    In any case, three hours after the pressure drop, the explosions started. The pipeline is still intact but, apparently the pipe leaked (likely in a single location rupture) and propylene travelled through the soil to an adjacent sewer line. The gas mixed with the air in the sewer pipe and a vapor-cloud explosion occurred (could have been sparked by anything from a car's catalytic converter to a cigarette from the street level). ..

    My suggestion above was wrong. This is apparently a dedicated propylene pipeline that leaked. The government officers are still trying to vent the pipeline and stop flow but the two or more companies involved don't seem to be cooperating yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  11. ScottWang

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    Aug 23, 2012
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    I just checked the news how was that explosions happened, according to the survey data from the Kaohsiung City Government show that the first time when the leak occurred in the 31st evening, although the Kaohsiung City Government has confirmed that the land has "two CPC gas pipeline" "a CDPC gas pipeline", also immediately notify the CPC to cut off the gas, but when the CPC Corporation, Taiwan given a pipe to the LCY to use, but do not report to the Kaohsiung City government, so the propylene transport continues until the response center to confirm propylene, it was too late.

    So the propylene leak, but there is no any gas pipeline at the underground of the street, only the underground culvert pipe, so the propylene spread out and explosion to made this damaged.
     
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