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Application of a Photodiode Array Optical Spectrometer to the Study of the Incendivity of Light Alloys Impacting on Rusted Steel.

Driscoll-TJ; Flinn-DR; Lederer-WC
MISSING :17 pages
Methane-air mixtures can ignite as a result of sparking or rubbing of materials, particularly by impact involving light alloys and rusted steel where an exothermic thermite reaction can occur. This report reviews the published literature and describes a new method utilized by the Bureau of Mines for studying the processes occurring during collisions of light metals with rusted steels. The method involves measuring the spectra of sparks and explosions in methane- air mixtures using a photodiode array. Initial results obtained using magnesium and aluminum alloy 6061-t651 projectiles striking rusted steel are reported. These results indicate that the continuous parts of the spectra show a larger intensity for incendive sparks compared with non-incendive sparks, with the largest relative change in the higher energy, ultraviolet region. An unexpected shift of the intensity maximum for the continuous parts of the spectra towards the infrared region was observed for the more incendive sparks. Evaluation of rusted steel samples with electron microscopy, energy-dispersive x-ray spectrography, and auger electron spectroscopy after they had been impacted by aluminum alloys indicated that aluminum was transferred to the steel in the form of islands that became larger as a function of increasing projectile velocity.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
RI 8684
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division