Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Explosion in Thailand polystyrene factory

Via the Taipei Times, this news: 

A massive explosion at a Taiwanese firm’s chemical factory on the outskirts of Bangkok early yesterday killed at least one person, injured dozens more and damaged scores of homes, while prompting the evacuation of a wide area over fears of poisonous fumes and the possibility of additional detonations.

The fire broke out at about 3am at a foam and plastic pellet manufacturing factory just outside Bangkok near Suvarnabhumi Airport, with the explosion blowing out windows of surrounding homes and sending debris raining from the sky.

The explosion could be heard for kilometers and surveillance footage from a nearby house captured the bright flash and boom, followed by the damage to the property and the one next door from the shock waves.

The main blaze at the Ming Dih Chemical Co (明諦化學) factory had been brought under control by mid-morning, but an enormous tank containing the chemical styrene monomer continued to burn, disaster prevention official Chailit Suwannakitpong said.

Late in the afternoon, dense clouds of black smoke continued to billow from the site and helicopters tried to navigate close enough to dump fire retardant onto it, initially with little apparent success.

Authorities said 62 people had been injured, including 12 involved in the firefighting and rescue efforts, and one person had been confirmed killed.

Styrene monomer, a hazardous liquid chemical used in the production of disposable foam plates, cups and other products, can produce poisonous fumes when ignited.

I'll be honest, I didn't know that there was a polymer industry in Thailand, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. 


  1. I would suspect the blowing agent in styrofoam - typically they use pentane, to expand the pellets - first they treat the pentane-containing pellets of polystyrene with hot steam, to get them into popcorn, and then, after pressing the expanded pellets in the form, they leave the styrofoam in warm ventilated rooms, to get the volatiles and the moisture out. Pentane is typically recycled form the air. It means a large polystyrene foam manufacturer will have a substantial inventory of highly flammable stuff, part of it as hot vapor intermixed with air.

  2. It seems the explosion was in Taiwan, not Thailand

    1. "A massive explosion at a Taiwanese firm’s chemical factory on the outskirts of Bangkok early yesterday"

      Bangkok is in Thailand.

    2. What a manifestation of cultural ignorance

    3. Jesus did I mess that up. Completely misread it. What makes it even worse is that I lived in Taiwan for ten weeks

  3. Explosion did take place in Thailand:

  4. Aditya Birla (not involved in this incident) is a huge Thai chemical company with a big epoxy resin business. There's definitely a polymer industry in Thailand.


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