By Digby Smith
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Additional resources for Army Uniforms Since 1945
On emptying the basket, its contents burst into flame. It was impossible to determine what specifically caused the accumulation and production of additional heat, but similar cases have been reported elsewhere, showing how close to home spontaneous exothermic reactions may occur. In addition to these ignition reactions in air, there are occasional hazards from fuel/oxidizer contacts that cause fires and explosions. By classification, they would belong in the next chapter, but as hazards in normal civilian life, their description follows here.
111 chapter 8 Mechanically-Induced Pyrophoricity If ambiguity is to be avoided, the term "pyrophoric" should be used only when ignition occurs completely spontaneously on exposure to air. However, we have seen in the previous chapters that sometimes a modicum of energy input makes the difference between mere rapid oxidation and flaming or glowing. e. of normal oxygen content) air to solid surfaces, intensifying the rate of reaction in both cases. When we read however, that an alloy of copper, zinc, and barium metal is described as "pyrophoric, stable in air"112 we realize that a second meaning, that of "producing sparks when ground or abraded,"113 is attached to the word pyrophoric, causing a need for clarification where the word pyrophoric is used without further amplification.
140 Accidents involving flammable dusts occur frequently in two stages —an initial "blow" that in turn disperses more material, which then may also explode. Systems have been devised that claim to be able to sense within ten milliseconds the heat and pressure from a dust or gas explosion and counteract it by discharge of water or inert gas. 141 A relatively small explosion with high explosives can be arranged in such a manner that it provokes a sizable dust explosion. This was done during World War II in semi-military sabotage activities.