Tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) is an industrial scale starting material e.g. for polymer production (PTFE, FEP). When ignited the chemically unstable TFE is capable of decomposing in an explosive way. Explosion propagation through pipe systems of production plants have led to damage and fatalities within the last seven decades.
Incident analyses identified compression heat a relevant source of ignition. Chemical plants consist of pipes, vessels, separating valves, strainers and other components. Before restarting the process after maintenance work, different parts of the plant components could be filled with TFE, nitrogen or air at different initial pressures ranging from vacuum or atmospheric to TFE at operating pressure. Valve opening procedures may cause a temperature increase in the gas phase. Compression takes place at polytropic conditions. Heat losses cannot be neglected. The temperature development in the gas depends upon the surface to volume ratio of the enclosure, geometrical influences, the state of gas flow, how fast the valve opens, and the heat capacity of the gas being compressed.
Laboratory scale tests (Meyer, 2009) revealed ignition of TFE/air due to compression heat. Tests in pipes of 28 mm inner diameter, i.e. already industrial scale, were performed by (Kluge et. al., 2016). In the present contribution initial test results from a 63 mm pipe will be compared with existing 28 mm pipe data. A description of the experimental setup as well as an explanation of the hazard diagram will be given. Furthermore, a method allowing for the identification of hazardous conditions will be discussed.