Unplanned Migration of Energetics

Liquid energetic materials in a fluid system may come into contact with various process components, including tanks, tubing / piping (process and drain), mixer bowls, flexible hoses, fittings, valves, regulators, gauges, etc. Drawing a vacuum on a liquid can promote migration of liquid materials into any seemingly inaccessible cavity such as down the threads of bolts and screws, into layered or weakly bonded coverings, and into seams and joints. The vapors from a liquid energetic material can be drawn into ducts, vacuum tubing, and will likely condense out-of-place.

Crystallized energetic material produced by leaking pipe

Solid energetic materials may also come into contact with various process components, including: hoppers, chutes, grinders, mills, mixer bowls, tubing / piping (process and drain), ovens and dryers, vacuum systems, etc. Granulated or powdered materials may dust, invading and contaminating unsealed areas (cracks, threads, hidden areas).

Contaminated process equipment

Once out-of-place, confinement can be created for energetic materials by their presence in small spaces: walls, joints and seams, pipes and fittings, electrical boxes, ventilation duct work, bins and containers, cracks, threads, under washers or nut and bolt heads, etc. Energetic materials may enter these confined spaces as a powder, dust, or vapor through a variety of methods: pushed or washed into areas during cleaning (non-soluble), carried in liquids as dissolved solids (later to condense out into its original solid form as the solvent evaporates), or otherwise migrate into and through porous or permeable materials.

Energetic dust accumulation in an electrical box

All out-of-place materials must be considered as potentially sensitive, mass-detonating materials (Class 1.1) until proven otherwise.

Failure to assess and address D3 hazards correctly has resulted in numerous incidents in the explosives industry.