Did i just almost die (oxy-acetylene) power outage houston txu


I was just out in the garage welding some 4130 with my oxy-acetylene setup. I’m a bit of a neophyte, but this was unexpected. I was getting some popping from the tip, but that wasn’t the first time. The tip had gone out a couple times, but I just turned off the oxygen, stuck the tip next to the hot metal, got re-lit, added the oxygen back in, and kept going. No biggie.

The last time the torch popped, I heard a sound come from the tanks. I glanced over, then glanced back at the torch (which was still running), then glanced back at the tanks. I’m guessing it’s a good thing that I could see the acetylene tank ON FIRE through my dark mask. I flipped up the mask to see if I really saw what I thought I had seen…and I had.

I killed the torch, then walked briskly over to the tanks, reached into the f*&#ing fire and turned off the acetylene tank. The fire continued to burn (presumably the gas still in the hose) as I tried to blow out the fire. I grabbed the valve just to make sure I had turned off the tank. I had. I blew on the flame some more, expecting my head to get blown off at any second. Finally, the flame went out. I turned off the oxygen. Then I bled the hoses.

Two things. First, the flame was coming from the joint where the regulator attaches to the tank. It would seem I didn’t tighten that enough. Second, isn’t the blowback preventer (or whatever it’s called) supposed to prevent this kind of thing? In the photo, you can see where the flames were (it’s black) and you can see the thing that I thought was supposed to prevent this.

How could a large cloud build up when I re-light the torch within a second or two of it going out? How would using a striker improve upon that? I’ve seen other experienced welders relight it on the metal. Maybe you’re right, though. It could be a terrible idea. I just don’t understand why it would be.

That’s what I understand, too, which is why I was confused as to how the fire started. No one here has told me how they think the fire began. I assumed it traveled up the hose. Again, thus my confusion. I was probably eight feet from the bottles. If the fire began because of a large cloud of acetylene coming from that leak, why wasn’t there a big boom when it ignited?Key there is "experienced", that lets you get away with a lot. Pro truck drivers shift without using a clutch, if you haven’t spent enough time in the seat, floating gears might as well be magic.

What I’m thinking of is the possibility were your got fuel gas coming out, and your material may not be hot enough and then you have some external spark, or reaching a hotter bit of material and instead of starting uncontrollably, you get a larger flame. Unlikely I grant you.

But I’d trust a striker over your way for a lot of reasons. One the main factors in causing an accident is skipping mundane steps that for someone unknown reason or unfortunate bit of luck end up biting you in the ass. But mostly cause I don’t like it and wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it.

I just watched a documentary about an accident in a Titan II missile silo. PTS team used a ratchet instead of torque wrench to install or remove (cant remember which) a large nut in order to fuel the missile. The rachet didn’t hold onto the socket and the 8 lb" socket ended up getting drooped about 100′ and punching a hole in the side of the missile. Caused a fuel leak and eventually the missile blew up and having a very large nuclear warhead go off in the middle of rural Arkansas was a very serious concern.

And your fire was burning off a leak, the fire was consuming the gas coming out. Had it you not had the fire, and been working in a confined poorly ventilated space, I would assume youd have a LARGE bang as the space filled up with acetylene and eventually reached the torch.

The torch pops because you are not running gas through it fast enough or you are getting the tip hot. Acetylene/oxygen has one of the fastest propagation rates known. Given the chance it will burn up the tip and ignite the mixture between the mixer and the end of the copper tip. These torches use copper tips for good reason. They need to conduct heat away fast enough that the mixture is cooled below the ignition temperature. A high enough gas flow helps cool the tip. Also, radiant heat from the weld puddle makes life more difficult. That is why it pops when you have the biggest puddle. The noise you heard, probably a sort of whine, was from burning in the tip. It would have melted off shortly. A dirty tip will also cause trouble.

The flame will not burn back in the hose unless you have the oxygen pressure so high that you get backflow. The leak at the tank was leaking all the time and a spark from the puddle ignited it. To prevent leakage at the tank, I cut an O ring groove in the fitting and now get a reliable seal.