Mining Publication: Performance of RETIMET Metal Foam Vents on Explosion-Proof Enclosures
The performance of RETIMET metal foam as a flame arrester on explosion-proof enclosures was investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines both in laboratory tests and at the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA's) Approval and Certification Center, Triadelphia, WV. The objective of this research was to develop a permissible pressure vent for use on lightweight, vented, explosion-proof enclosures. In laboratory tests, four grades of RETIMET, a stainless steel foam material, were evaluated: (1) 45 NC-7, (2) 45 NC-13, (3) 80 NC-7, and (4) 80 NC-13. Explosive gas mixtures were prepared by a dynamic flow system. Ignition was by a low-voltage arc. Each grade of RETIMET metal foam successfully arrested the flame front in all methane-air tests. To evaluate RETIMET metal foam on large, commercial size enclosures, a multicompartmented enclosure was designed and tested in MSHA's explosion gallery in Triadelphia, WV. Extensive explosion testing revealed that a minimum vent-area-to-enclosure-volume ratio of 11.33 in2/ft3 is required to keep internal pressure rises below 3 psig. The RETIMET metal foam functioned satisfactorily in all tests as evidenced by the absence of external ignitions.