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Nitromethane explosion

Jeff

Nitro Member
#3
Chances are that was a compression explosion and not a fire explosion. When the valves seats in the bottle get old they can sometimes stick in some funny locations, and that liquid to liquid pump we all use to fill from a mother tank to the small tank can build up some wicked pressure in the valve in a matter of seconds. Usually a fill line ruptures at 3 or 4k of bottle pressure and you have some bad freeze burns and maybe a lashing from the hose if you are lucky enough to have safety glasses or get really lucky and the thing misses your unprotected eyes.

Unfortunately, I'll bet that the small tank had historically been torch heated and the neck/valve were work hardened as a result. Then instead of the fill hose being the weak link, the nitrous bottle/valve become the week link and all of the energy used to compress that gas into a liquid is released in a deadly single moment.

Gas compressed into a liquid can be deadly simply because of the energy released when the cylinder fails .... I'll bet there was no fire at all. I've had the burns from an exploded line ... if a bottle valve even gets stiff it is taken out of service until the valve is swapped out. Torch heating bottles in the street race scene is way, way too common .... buying a used bottle without immediately taking it to a testing center to be pressure tested is a huge crap shoot.

Now watching how a testing center operates is pretty cool. They fill the bottle with all but about 1 cup of volume of water and lower it into a underground concrete vault of sorts. Then an inert gas pressurizes the remaining volume to something insane like 4 or 5k .... since water doesn't compress if the bottle fails you are releasing some energy but not near as much as the whole bottle filled with a gas (and its much cheaper to do this way). A little physics proves that the whole bottle sees the same PSI of pressure and you are good for 5 or 10 years.
 
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#4
"Nitromethane is highly explosive and is used in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock drag racing."

well whaddya know ....the local news may have just inadvertantly come up with a way for the NHRA to save Pro Stock after all.....
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
#5
I used to think you could run nitrous & alcohol, until Jeff set me straight. Used to hear stories that some Pro Mods with blowers also had nitrous, guess not. Jeff, hope you guys have a great 2019 & win a whole lot of races. :)
 

Bob

Nitro Member
#6
Karl Brounkowski tried running Nitrous in his A/FD. It looked strange seeing Nitrous purges on a Nitro Methane engine.
 

Jeff

Nitro Member
#7
I used to think you could run nitrous & alcohol, until Jeff set me straight. Used to hear stories that some Pro Mods with blowers also had nitrous, guess not. Jeff, hope you guys have a great 2019 & win a whole lot of races. :)
Just so someone doesn't say I'm wrong, you can run nitrous + gasoline + alcohol .... you just got to have to gasoline to build enough heat to have the nitrous consistently split between the stabilizing nitrogen atoms and the oxygen atoms.

Nickens texted me the other day after pulling my motor apart and said all of my issues at the end of the year were to be blamed on a small rock that got embedded in timing belt .... it was big enough that it caused the belt to skip a tooth and that put the cam 12 degrees off timing and well that introduced a number of valves to a number of pistons. Could have been catastrophic but she had gone .002 red in E1 at Ennis and idled down the track (well at 100 mph .... but not 225). Happy to win one national in 2018 .... and hope to find a way to be the one to win the Indy TD national in 19 ... glad we finally got invited, but laughed when I saw that TD/TS were the only classes with normal quota's on car count. It would have been a HOOT to watch a bunch of cars try for 32 spots, and even with 36 I have a feeling its going to end up looking more like a 6.10 index race.

I think the AFD folks really struggle with dropped holes early ... and nitrous is a nice additional tuning aid to further lean the sporadic wet hole early, but its a delicate balance from what I hear.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
#9
OK, maybe I opened my mouth & put the foot in it. heh Jeff had mentioned that in T/D, there were some racers trying nitrous & alky and didn't seem to work well. Jeff is the guru, so I just read and try to learn. So am reading the above post by Jeff, & he says you can run gasoline, nitrous & alky. I know from nothing about all this, so...

By the way, IHRA allowed A/FD with nitrous to run T/F, some years ago. Didn't really work out & I don't remember that any of the A/F cars actually did run nitrous. But interesting to watch.
 

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