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Flammable powder accident in Taiwan ?

Discussion in 'News' started by JD, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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  2. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    I think they use cornstarch for those color powder party's, a common science demo is a cornstarch explosion.

    Did they mix pyro with cornstarch?
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Wow... So scary. There's some sort of big ignition off screen to the left. Sure makes me wonder if someone used Pyro and powder.
     
  4. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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  5. ptero

    ptero Active Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/w...r-park-fire-and-explosion.html?ref=world&_r=0

    "The powder that Color Play Asia uses is made of cornstarch and food coloring, according to a post the company made on its Facebook account. The post added that its products were in line with standards set by SGS, which is a Geneva-based testing, inspection and verification company. No one at the company was available over the weekend to comment on whether Color Play Asia’s products did get SGS certification and whether that process also included tests for flammability."
     
  6. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    The more that comes out about this, the more horrified I get. Is common sense dead? Every person that has graduated high school has had a chemistry class. One of the things you learn is that any material that has any capability of burning can become a big hazard in dust form! I think I was in 7th grade when they demonstrated this with flower and explained about grain silo explosions. To think a company may have marketed a product and that no one at said company would have thought about this is mind boggling.
     
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  7. josh88

    josh88 Remarkably Tired. Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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  8. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    Yes cornstarch is perfectly safe. You can eat it and everything. Makes colour powder safe... Unless exposed to an ignition source when spread out in the air.
    As mentioned before mixing pyro and colour powder is very dangerous. The corn starch won't burn as well on the ground, but when its mixed in the air it will go up in flames extraordinarily well.
    Anyone who watches Mythbusters would know that, or anyone who remembers their chemistry classes. That experiment was as fun as "melting" things with strong acid we made ourselves.

    Then again I remember in College how many people I heard say "we never learnt that in high school" about something they certainly DID learn, and has since forgotten.

    Whoever was in charge of the Pyro should of stopped this from happening. Not sure how things are in Taiwan, but here in Canada he (or she) would be DONE FOR.
     
  9. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    We use corn starch all the time in our Halloween show, makes for an easy and less expensive flame shooter. Little compressed air, a spark and poof. Controllable fireball.
     
  10. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Hope you have an FEO license.
     
  11. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    No license requirements here but we do stay well away from visitors and its out doors

    Sent from my XT1060 using Tapatalk
     
  12. Robert

    Robert Active Member

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    Doesn't it look like the powder ignited and then the foam caught fire next?
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I noticed that but decided that I think it's just the flames sort of unevenly working their way around the poofs of powder in different waves.
     
  14. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    From the npr story quoted above...
    "Organizers of the event had bought 3 tons of the colored, starch-based powder from Tai Won, a Taiwanese company. A company representative told the AP the buyer was informed the powder was flammable.
    "Whether it's corn starch or flour starch, this kind of stuff, no matter how long it's been around, if it's in dense quantities and if it's hot, it can catch fire," Chou Hui-fang, the representative, told the AP."


    Let's read that last part again "...no matter how long it's been around, if it's in dense quantities and it's hot, it can catch fire..." Well it's good to know that the manufacturer has such a clear understanding of why powders are extremely flammable when aerosolized.
     
  16. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4981786/#!po=22.7273
    Investigation later determined the cause of the explosion was an overheated stage projection light that reached over 750°F and combusted. The concentration of the powder or dust and airstream turbulence as people ran caused the fire to spread.


    It seems most of the reports I can find deal with the response and medical aftermath of the event. So no details on the type of fixture blamed as the source. All the same putting a pound of cornstarch into a fixture might not be a good thing.
     
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  17. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @venuetech back in 1995, the scenery and automation shop I was with fabricated and supplied all aspects of the scenery, masking and automation for a production of the Who's rock opera 'Tommy' to be staged in Offenbach, Frankfurt, Germany. Four representatives from Germany's TUV, their inspectors of all things, from materials, to welding and off-gassing were daily guests in our shops for approximately six weeks including watching the entire production being carefully packed into Eight of the largest shipping containers prior to heading to an ocean going port. One interesting thing we learned about trans-Atlantic shipping was no matter how heavy we thought our containers were, they were nothing near the ratings of most of the ocean going containers. We were assured we were far too light to be stowed below deck and we were advised to pack everything to be water tight as the containers were anything but water-tight and would be buffeted by storms and spray for most of their time aboard a cargo carrier. We also learned if, in the estimation of a ship's captain, it was necessary to jettison our containers to save his ship and crew, his company's only onus was to forward the time and location of our containers being tossed off the deck after which it was up to our shop's owner to contact his ensurer. This was 1995 when satellite tracking was in its infancy and primarily employed by the military.
    Skipping ahead to meeting the TUV inspectors again on their home turf. The Who's rock opera 'Tommy' began on a university campus in LaJolla California. As it proved to be an instant hit, a New York City based production company took over the show and moved it to Broadway. I believe Broadway's St. James Theatre housed 'Tommy' during its initial run in NYC. While 'Tommy' was still on Broadway, the American director, designers and producers chose to launch a US national tour closely followed by a North American International tour. As is all too common, the producers went with the low bidders and they soon found themselves paying large for IA one to repair and maintain their constantly failing automated scenery and 10 pinball machines. The US producers learned from their experiences and when a German based rock promoter fell in love with 'Tommy' in the St. James, the producers suggested he may wish to check out a number of US based lighting, scenery and automation shops while they were in New York. One of our shop's owners was seriously interested in building as much of the German production of 'Tommy' as he could snag and thus I found myself in a meeting masterfully scheduled and chaired by @STEVETERRY in the boardroom of his brand new New Jersey location.
    Getting back to Offenbach and the inspectors from TUV.
    TUV visited our load in and set up many times but came the day they were visiting to inspect our E-stop and safety systems, they wanted a demonstration of the largest, pyro-belching, pin ball machine with a performer in place being taken for a violent ride by the wildly writhing mechanized monster under the power of its three, synchronized, AC servo drives. New York based Gene O'Donavan, having acted as 'Tommy's' Technical Producer since the production's initial move to Broadway, assured the TUV inspectors the machine would stop dead in its tracks if the performer so much as lifted both his feet from the gyrating machine's foot treadle simultaneously. TUV insisted upon seeing a demonstration. I'll respectfully point out Gene was retired from active military service and no longer what you'd call neither in the greatest of shape nor used to riding the frantically gesticulating high-powered machine. TUV wanted decent lighting on the area and Dave Grill, the
    American lighting design associate obliged with an Ianiro 6" 2K 'Bambino' at 100% and flooded to its max. The foot treadle's E-stop switch had been bypassed for TUV to watch the machine go through its violent dance sans a performer as it was prior to 10 a.m. and none of our Equity cast members were in the theatre. TUV kept tapping their toes, pointing at their watches and demanding their demo thus Gene O'D jumped aboard the machine and commanded the automation operator to once again run the sequence. It was more than attention getting when the Bambino's lens shattered showering Gene and the gyrating machine with hot shards of glass accompanied by the super nova of the 2K's incandescent lamp and the startled Gene O'D losing his grip and flying through the air hitting the deck and rubbing his legs at the foot of two of TUV's finest. The machine, with its foot treadle E-stop still bypassed, continued to whirl through the remainder of its program.
    Suffice it to say much terse Germanic phrases ensued. I may be incorrect but I believe Gene O'Donovan used to be one of the movers and shakers behind a highly regarded New York City based scenery shop.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  18. mikefellh

    mikefellh Active Member

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    Guess they've never seen Mythbusters (although they used coffee creamer, I remember hearing about such fires in flour factories and lumber yards (sawdust)):
     
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  19. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    That'd be why any decent dust extraction system has fire detectors within the ducts and cyclones.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  20. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    So you know it's happening because you might not otherwise see or hear it?
     

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