Nosler plant explosion


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xtratoy
June 2, 2010, 08:03 PM
I heard on the local news that the Nosler plant in Bend Or. had an explosion that blew the roof off. They were speculating that that explosion may have been located in the ballistics lab. http://kohd.com/news/local/176294

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Jim Watson
June 2, 2010, 08:06 PM
Report at:
http://www.ktvz.com/news/23772491/detail.html
says "ballistic tunnel."
Unburned powder on the range floor flashing off?

Zoogster
June 2, 2010, 08:15 PM
Unburned powder on the range floor flashing off?

Perhaps. Or residue built up in an air vent, or machine, or in whatever they typically use to clean, or who knows over the years.




had an explosion that blew the roof off.
Most buildings designed with the intended purpose being working with explosives inside have weaker portions of the structure intended to be the path of least resistance.
That channels the explosive energy into a less dangerous direction, and results in less pressure build up before that section gives out. Which can mean a less powerful explosion, and other sections of the building being spared or receiving minor damage.
This means explosions that would typically be fatal for many or damage for more of the structure or nearby structures have the damage minimized in a building so designed.

jhallrv4
June 2, 2010, 08:17 PM
Sounds like someone double charged a case.


Kidding! I'm kidding!!!

Jeff

smokey262
June 2, 2010, 11:26 PM
Pic of the facility from the Nosler reloading forum

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a351/Kirtmc/NoslerSW.jpg

Tommygunn
June 2, 2010, 11:33 PM
That looks like a bit more than just the roof blew off . . . .

armoredman
June 2, 2010, 11:34 PM
Firefighting system was still pressurized, that's good. Also read everyone made it out alive, VERY good. Buildings can be replaced, people cannot be reloaded.

LaEscopeta
June 3, 2010, 09:38 AM
Nosler makes bullets, not full cartridges, correct? So except for testing they should not have a lot of powder in the plant. Iím thinking the cause of the explosion is not related to making bullets, and is the type of explosion that occurs sometimes in factories that make anything.

Also, as noted above, looks like more than just the roof blew off. The photo above does not look like a designed weak point in the building giving way to relieve pressure.

Arkansas Paul
June 3, 2010, 09:46 AM
Don't know about this particular plant, but Nosler does make loaded ammunition. It's high end stuff that costs a bit more than average.

cassandrasdaddy
June 3, 2010, 11:11 AM
wow! glad no one killed
that looks a lot like a gas explosion i worked on as far as stuff spread out no fire
is there a part of the process that produces explosive/flammable gases? we blew up a lab i worked at when we lost power to a ventilation system near 6 very high temp furnaces. the furnaces stayed on the gases built up and then ignited. thankfully we were all out of the building , unfortunately we were down the street watching the football game. the boss was not pleased

SaMx
June 3, 2010, 11:14 AM
Wow, it sure is lucky no one was killed or injured.

Superlite27
June 3, 2010, 11:25 AM
IMHO It looks as if the building is constructed out of some fairly flammable materials.

Looks like alot of wood, paper, wooden beams, some plastic material, cardboard boxes, more wood......

I would think that if you were in the bullet business, what with gun powder and all, it would be beneficial to construct your building out of stuff like metal, stone, and other materials less inclined to burn.

Fortunately, it looks as if it was merely a pressure explosion and not a fireball. Thank God everyone made it out alive.

DoubleTapDrew
June 3, 2010, 11:38 AM
They said on the news this morning it collapsed an 8,000sq.ft. section of the 80,000sq.ft. plant. Glad nobody was hurt, although one employee's car was buried in rubble :uhoh:

Husker_Fan
June 3, 2010, 11:42 AM
Must have been a Glock



Just kidding.

Elmar66
June 3, 2010, 11:43 AM
Laminated wooden beams are the norm in Oregon since wood is so cheap and readily available. You see them in large buildings, warehouses, grocery stores etc. Heck I remember about 15 years ago they would deck floors of houses with tongue and groove 2X4's and not plywood.

Says something about their safety if no one was killed in that.

Tommygunn
June 3, 2010, 11:47 AM
Husker Fan, dang it, you owe me a new keyboard!!!!!!!!!!

EddieNFL
June 3, 2010, 07:53 PM
Most buildings designed with the intended purpose being working with explosives inside have weaker portions of the structure intended to be the path of least resistance.

Thats the intent, but I can show you what's left of an earth covered igloo in northern California. They found chunks of concrete and parts of the steel doors on a mountainside about four miles away.

wishin
June 3, 2010, 08:58 PM
Probably some terrorist plot...:uhoh:

Full Metal Jacket
June 3, 2010, 09:05 PM
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a351/Kirtmc/NoslerSW.jpg


:eek:

apparently this company does not concern themselves with government mandated safety protocols.

Zoogster
June 3, 2010, 10:29 PM
I would think that if you were in the bullet business, what with gun powder and all, it would be beneficial to construct your building out of stuff like metal, stone, and other materials less inclined to burn.

Part of the building, but not other parts. Stronger materials contain explosions better, generate more pressure, and generally make for bigger booms. Even though they may be more fire resistant.


Thats the intent, but I can show you what's left of an earth covered igloo in northern California. They found chunks of concrete and parts of the steel doors on a mountainside about four miles away.

An earth covered building with steel doors and made of concrete would be about one of the most dangerous explosive containing buildings if it actually did have enough pressure to blow.
By definition the much stronger materials will trap the pressure in longer, generating much higher pressure and resulting in a much bigger explosion when it goes.

If you put a weak firecracker on your flat palm it will likely burn you. If you close your fist around it it will likely blow off parts of your hand.
Similarly the tougher the casing around an explosive the more pressure it generates before it explodes. Steel will explode with a lot more force than paper for example.
As will a steel or concrete walls compared to a plaster and wood.


apparently this company does not concern themselves with government mandated safety protocols.
Without knowing the layout of the building who can say?
A properly designed test area would actually be set up to blow up separately and away from the people inside the building.
Making the path of least resistance away from the people and outside of the building. Channeling the explosive energy away from people and the rest of the building.
So without knowing the layout of the building and test area it is hard to say if it did not work exactly as intended in the event of an explosion.

It is kinda like crumple zones in modern cars. It sure makes them take a lot of damage from much more minor impacts, but it is intentional so that the damage is predictable and can be engineered to send the force in a desired direction.

Officers'Wife
June 3, 2010, 10:46 PM
Babysitting explosives is risky business, it would appear the odds caught up with them. Thank God and all the Saints no one was hurt. I have my 'theory' on the cause but with the lack of information given feel it best not to say.

Mike J
June 3, 2010, 10:54 PM
I am just thankful everyone made it out.

kingpin008
June 3, 2010, 11:17 PM
Babysitting explosives is risky business, it would appear the odds caught up with them.

Smokeless powder isn't explosive. Flammable, but not explosive.

Full Metal Jacket
June 3, 2010, 11:36 PM
Without knowing the layout of the building who can say?



the building no longer has a layout, it blew up. that's how you can say. ;)

Officers'Wife
June 3, 2010, 11:59 PM
Smokeless powder isn't explosive.

Smokeless powder is a mix of nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose. If it's not an explosive then neither is dynamite.

Kentucky_Rifleman
June 4, 2010, 12:07 AM
Any word on how will this affect their production?

KR

Full Metal Jacket
June 4, 2010, 12:16 AM
i would assume it's halted at the moment.

scythefwd
June 4, 2010, 12:44 AM
Officers'Wife - I believe that smokeless powder is not classified as an explosive, which requires a burn rate of something like 14 fps to qualify. I'm not sure how wide of a path that 14ft is, or how deep.

MetalHead
June 4, 2010, 12:47 PM
I don't know where the dust would come from but you can get some big bangs out of airborn dust as well, quite common in commercial grain storage bins.

Jon_Snow
June 4, 2010, 01:38 PM
Officers'Wife - I believe that smokeless powder is not classified as an explosive, which requires a burn rate of something like 14 fps to qualify. I'm not sure how wide of a path that 14ft is, or how deep.

An explosive material is one for which the burn rate exceeds the speed of sound, around 1100 fps at sea level. Burn rate is dependent on several factors, including the pressure the substance is under as it burns. Smokeless powder sitting on the ground will burn like wood. The way it works is that it gives off a lot of gas as it burns. In a contained environment, like the chamber of a gun, this gas is trapped and so it causes the pressure to rise rapidly. As the pressure rises, the burn rate rises, causing the pressure to rise even faster. However, even under these conditions, smokelss powder never truely detonates, it just burns VERY fast. Lots of gun related things are explosive. Black powder will detonate under normal conditions. Primers are explosive. Having powder suspended in air like Metalhead mentioned can greatly increase the burn rate.

Tim the student
June 4, 2010, 04:42 PM
I think it is part of a consipiracy, between this and Springfield. Colt will be next. Maybe Black Hills.

In all seriousness, I'm happy nobody was hurt. I hope they will be back on their feet soon.

Flyboy
June 4, 2010, 05:05 PM
Jon_Snow:
To clarify a bit, my understanding is that to be called an explosive the flame front must propagate through the material faster than the speed of sound in that material. The speed of sound is different in different materials, typically fastest in solids and slowest in gases.

According to Wikipedia, the detonation velocity of RDX, the explosive in C-4, 8750 m/s, or 28,700 fps. Nitroglycerin is listed at 7700 m/s, and nitrocellulose is variable depending upon how it is made--it can be either a deflagrant ("low explosive," not a true detonation) or an explosive ("high explosive," meeting the supersonic definition).

rscalzo
June 4, 2010, 05:28 PM
Smokeless powder isn't explosive. Flammable, but not explosive.

While the finished produce may not be but the materials used to make it could be hazardious. Many years back in NJ, Hercules had a deadly explosion in their plant.

http://www3.gendisasters.com/new-jersey/1946/kenvil,-nj-hercules-powder-company-explosion,-sept-1940

The explosions continued until operations ceased.

Ultimately the facility was rebuilt with new safety measures and reopened in April 1941 to go on to produce munitions for World War Two as well as Rocket propellant and other products. By 1958, the Cold War was in full swing, and the Hercules Kenvil plant worked on materials for the Minuteman Missile. Smaller explosions continued from the late 1940's through the 60's, taking over a dozen additional lives. In 1964, two workers were killed in a fire in a building where smokeless powder was being prepared. In 1967 an explosion and fire leveled three buildings and killed two workers. More recently, a 1989 blast injured 20 workers and shattered glass for miles and in 1994, a machine mixing 500 pounds of nitroglycerin went up -- sending four workers to the hospital and showering the company parking lot with scraps of hot metal

EddieNFL
June 4, 2010, 07:01 PM
An earth covered building with steel doors and made of concrete would be about one of the most dangerous explosive containing buildings if it actually did have enough pressure to blow.

I wonder why the military builds so many for storage of explosives?

Earth covered igloos, such as the Stradley http://www.wbdg.org/design/am_stradley-33-15-61.php are the standard for storing high explosives. The incident I mentioned involved detonation of BLU-82s containing 12,800 NEW (IIRC). Not much can be done to contain a blast of that magnitude. The fronts were sucked off the two adjacent igloos.

Officers'Wife
June 5, 2010, 08:49 AM
Hi scythefwd,

I believe that smokeless powder is not classified as an explosive, which requires a burn rate of something like 14 fps to qualify. I'm not sure how wide of a path that 14ft is, or how deep.

Smokeless powder is considered a propellant grade explosive, others in that class are gelatinite, low grade dynamites and ammonia nitrate slurries. The various classes are based on speed of detonation, while smokeless detonation is relatively slow compared to TNT (the standard) it has explosive properties when compressed and subjected to shock.

Another poster mentioned the stuff burns therefore is not explosive- My uncle used to tell stories of breaking off a piece of C-4, lighting it on fire and using it to boil his coffee. PETN (the explosive in the core of primacord or 'det' cord if you prefer) also burns merrily alone if subjected to flame without explosion. C4, PETN, smokeless powder- subjected to flame is a high energy heat source. Subjected to explosive shock, such as a blasting cap, can move mountains.

GlockStar
June 7, 2010, 12:06 AM
Anyone in the NorthWest heard any updates?

joneb
June 7, 2010, 12:10 AM
http://www.ktvz.com/news/23805726/detail.html
:)

LaEscopeta
June 7, 2010, 08:34 AM
Part of the article linked in the post above:

Nosler Workers Return as Blast Probe Enters New Phase
All But Production Workers Due Back Monday; Rifle Test Shot Sparked Fire
By Barney Lerten, KTVZ.COM
POSTED: 3:31 pm PDT June 5, 2010
UPDATED: 8:27 pm PDT June 6, 2010

BEND, Ore.

...The initiating event was related to testing of a rifle which was fired by an employee in the south tunnel," a concrete underground firing range used by the firm for ballistics testing, said Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Susie Lovisco said in a news release Saturday....

...The fire originated in the “50-yard room” of an underground indoor testing range, Lovisco said. That fire led to the explosion that tore a large hole in the southeast corner of the building, moments the fire alarm was pulled and employees evacuated.

“The primary fuel that burned was stored product,” Lovisco said, declining to elaborate at this point, adding, “The exact cause of the fire has not been determined until further analysis takes place.”

Lovisco described the all-concrete underground tunnel as being 100 yards in total length, with a room between the first and second 50 yards, for ballistics testing.

A “backdraft effect occurred,” the deputy fire marshal told KTVZ.COM, in the “oxygen-starved environment” of the tunnel, and the pressure “exploded out the southeast corner of the building.”

Lovisco said the next step in the investigation into what happened will take place at the insurance company’s testing laboratories “in the days and weeks to come.”

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