Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Aluminum powder/air exotherm incident in Boston

Via the Boston Globe: 

A HAZMAT situation was declared at a metal manufacturing facility in Burlington Friday after a quick thinking chemist noticed a tumbler containing aluminum powder was rising to concerning temperatures and had the building evacuated, the fire department said.

Firefighters responded to Desktop Metal, 63 Third Ave. at about 10:15 a.m. on the report of a possible HAZMAT situation, Burlington fire said in a statement. The firefighters learned of the chemist’s concerns and declared a Tier 1 HAZMAT situation.

They also requested assistance from the state Department of Fire Services HAZMAT team. Those crews are still at the scene and are working to safely remove and dispose of the aluminum powder, the statement said.

The State Police Bomb Squad was also called to the scene as a precaution, the statement said.

The chemist knew that the powder could become an explosion hazard if the temperature rose too high. He pumped Nitrogen into the tumbler containing the powder to stop the temperature from rising higher, the statement said.

Desktop Metal appears to be a metal 3D printing firm, so I am guessing this is quite a large amount of aluminum, although it's not mentioned in the article. Quick thinking regarding the nitrogen...  

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looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20