Mining Publication: Fire Protection Provided by Detonator Containers
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 30, Parts 56, 57, 75, and 77 require that detonators and explosives be separated by four inches of hardwood or equivalents when transported together in mines. This standard was developed to protect the explosives from initiation by the more sensitive detonators. The research reported here is an attempt to quantify the fire protection offered by four inches of red oak and other materials. Boxes with a volume of 6.75 cubic feet were made from four-inch-thick rough green oak (RGO), two-inch thick RGO plied, two-inch thick #1 common (dried) red oak plied, and a metal/plywood composite. These and boxes meeting the Institute of Makers of Explosives' (IME) Safety Library Publication No. 22 were tested in bonfires. The boxes were instrumented with thermocouples, filled with detonators, and placed over a kerosene fire imparting about 16 kilowatts per square meter heat flux for up to 3 hours. Tests showed that the wood boxes protected the detonators for over an hour with variations between the different trials. In the IME 22 container tests, detonators began exploding in as little as 17 minutes in one test and not for 2-1/2 hours in another test. Detonators in the metal/plywood boxes began to explode in about 15 minutes, but with minor alterations, were able to contain the detonators. The test results show that the exterior of an IME 22 container significantly affects its thermal properties. Defects in the form of cracks and the manner in which the container is closed have a significant effect on the performance of a detonator container in a fire.