Date: Sun, 25 Oct 2009 02:23:09 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Christopher Suznovich <snuz**At_Symbol_Here**MAC.COM>
Subject: Re: 2 RE: [DCHAS-L] Lab Incident: Lab explosion in Montana
In-Reply-To: <8D6D0F40-92CA-4B6D-8F3C-83C471D1D087**At_Symbol_Here**>

Most ovens used in the lab have an opening on the top to vent the oven or an exhaust vent, unless it is a vacuum oven.  Of the ovens we have in our labs, one has a rear exhaust vent , and the rest have holes in the top.  Of course blocking these defeat the purpose.  We place glassware rinsed with Methanol and solvents into the oven at 105oC
for drying.  They have trace amounts to a few drops left in them and some of protocols require the drying TLC plates before UV exposure or spraying in the oven to dry.  

For the oven to explode as it did, I would assume a good quantity of methanol was present in the extraction preparation and it flashed, or there was something else in the oven to cause a reaction.  The vents or exhaust may also have been closed so the methanol vapor may not have been able to escape and built up pressure and blew the door open, and with the rush of oxygen caused the flash fire.  A faulty door seal cold also have allowed air to seep into the oven and allowed the methanol to flash. Since the door blew open, the oven door was likely would where it was just pushed shut and there is a catch mechanism t keep it closed.  Most newer ovens have it where the handle turns a latch that that catches into the main frame of the oven.

I am wondering why they did not evaporate the the methanol down on a water bath first, then complete the drying in the oven at 105oC or in an oven under vacuum at a lower temperature.  Any extraction we complete, we evaporate the solvent in a water bath , then dry it if necessary in an oven to remove any residual solvent. Even when we have a TLC and it says to aid drying in an oven, we air dry the plate first, then pace it into the oven.

Chris Suznovich

From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009 20:11:32 -0400
To: <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] 2 RE: [DCHAS-L] Lab Incident: Lab explosion in Montana

From: Crooks, Steven <scrooks**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Lab Incident: Lab explosion in Montana
Date: October 23, 2009 3:53:56 PM EDT

Thanks for sharing the news that the individual is doing well.

Any chance of getting the “for some reason” part of the story?  As a few might recall in a previous post, I tried getting some discussion going about NRTL certs on tube furnaces (ovens being a close neighbor) but managed to wrangle up only a suggestion to see my pressure vessel insurer for guidance.  He didn’t have much to offer unfortunately but case studies like this could help us tremendously (if we can get to the needed detail.)

If those who know Joel (or the EHS person possibly involved in the investigation?) would be able to help pass along details of the oven (Make, model) and amt. of MeOH involved at time, it’s possible that could have the “reason” sitting in front of us.


Steve Crooks, MS, CIH, CSP
Mgr., Occupational Health & Environment
RTI International
Occupational Health and Environment
Bldg 11 203B
3040 Cornwallis Road POB 12194
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
TEL 919.316.3910
FAX 919.541.1222

From: Neal Langerman <neal**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Lab Incident: Lab explosion in Montana
Date: October 23, 2009 4:30:49 PM EDT

While we are glad this was not worse, “for some reason” is not an acceptable root cause.  I hope that a formal incident investigation is performed with an identification of the root cause(s) and corrective actions to prevent a recurrence.

7563 CONVOY Ct
(858) 874 5577 (phone, 24/7)
(858) 874 8239 (FAX) <>


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