A flash fire is an unexpected, sudden intense
firecaused by ignition of flammable solids (including dust), liquids, or gases. It is characterized by high-temperature, short-duration, considerable shock waves, and a rapidly moving flamefront.
Flash fires may occur in environments where
fuel, typically flammable gas or dust, is mixed with airin concentrations suitable for combustion.
In flash fire explosions, the flame spreads at
subsonicvelocity, so the overpressure damage is usually negligible and the bulk of the damage comes from the thermal radiationand secondary fires.
Clothing made of
fire-retardant materials (eg. Nomex) limits the injury caused by flash fires to the protected body areas. Even normal clothing can provide partial protection.
When inhaled, the heated air resulting from a flash fire can cause serious damage to the tissue of the lungs, possibly leading to death by asphyxiation.
A flash fire is defined by
CGSB155.20-2000 and NFPA 2113 as:
“A rapidly moving flame front which can be a combustion explosion. Flash fire may occur in an environment where fuel and air become mixed in adequate concentrations to combust...flash fire has a heat flux of approximately 84 kW/m2 for relatively short periods of time, typically less than 3 seconds.”
Flash fires can lead to
Vapor cloud fire
Air Canada Flight 797
* [http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/strategy/flash.htm Explosion Hazard Assessment]
* [http://www.westexinc.com/flash_fire_exposure_analysis.htm Flash fire exposure analysis]
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