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HSE RR991

Response of small-scale blackpowder storage in partitioned wooden boxes to external fire

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SUMMARY

Research has shown that when a partitioned wooden box containing twenty five plastic bottles, each bottle containing 1 kg of blackpowder is exposed to an external wood fire, the bottles of powder do not explode en masse but ignite over a short period of time. Fire resistance times for the specified box design of no less than 8 minutes were observed before blackpowder ignitions started to occur.

Following blackpowder ignitions within the wooden box, ejection of full bottles of blackpowder may occur with bottle ejection distances of up to 5 m having been recorded.

In the event of an incident involving blackpowder stored in the box designed as described, the ejected bottles of blackpowder could pose a hazard to emergency services and consideration should be given to disseminating the information to them.

This Research Report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

Publisher: HSE
Published in: 2013

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