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Different approaches to explosion protection in hazardous areas
Aug 30, 2021

Introduction
There are various methods to greatly reduce the risk of an explosion happening in hazardous areas. The key objective of these methods is to remove one (or more) components from the “Fire Triangle” and to prevent an explosion from occurring.

The fire triangle as per below shows the 3 components needed for combustion and to prevent an explosion, these 3 components must not exist near each other.

Fire Triangle


Source: https://www.safeopedia.com/definition/1883/fire-triangle

Let’s discuss further below the 3 main methods to explosion protection in hazardous areas:

  • Confinement
  • Separation
  • Prevention

Confinement
The idea behind confinement is that any explosion is to be controlled within any equipment, such as explosion proof junction boxes so that the spark/fire is not exposed to hazardous areas and thus possibly causing an even bigger explosion. This method is useful when there are potential hazards, such as sparks that may be generated by parts during daily operations. You may read up more about explosion proof here.

Separation
For this method, it attempts to separate the electrical parts from ever encountering any ignitable gases. This way even if there are sparks generated from the electrical parts, no explosion would occur. Some examples of this method are the purging method and encapsulation.

Prevention
One way to prevent explosions is to limit the amount of energy that is produced from an electrical part if any fault occurs. An explosion would not occur if the electrical part is not able to produce enough energy to cause an ignition. Equipment of this sort can be classified under intrinsically safe electrical equipment.

Intrinsic safety is a safety method of designing electrical equipment whereby the equipment is safe to be operated in hazardous areas. Hazardous areas are areas where potential flammable vapours and gases may be present in the atmosphere and any spark generated by any electrical equipment may ignite the gases and cause an explosion/fire. Industrial equipment may be at risk of overheating, or any short-circuits may generate potential sparks. Here is where the theory of intrinsic safety comes into play and this technique means that electrical equipment(s) have their electrical or thermal energy limited (less than 1.3W) and the equipment are not able to generate any potentially dangerous sparks. The equipment also cannot exceed a maximum temperature of 135 degrees Celsius under operation. You may read up more regarding intrinsic safety here.

Summary

We hope that you have gained a better understanding towards different approaches to explosion protection in hazardous areas.

With that, we would also like to introduce Supermec.

Supermec offers a wide range of explosion proof products such as explosion proof junction boxes and explosion proof lightings.

Since 1977, our complete range of explosion proof products are customised to meet the strictest guidelines and standards in the industry.

Contact our friendly sales team at sales@supermec.com or you can drop us a call at +65 68619522 to find out more about our explosion proof solutions. Alternatively, you can visit our ecommerce platform where you can browse through the complete range of explosion proof products for various hazardous areas at your own time.


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