On Friday, there was a massive explosion at the AB Specialty Silicones plant. Three out of nine of the company’s nine employees working at the time were killed in the incident. The production plant was completely destroyed.
The respective services assessed the plant as safe
Although the representatives of the local fire brigade emphasize that the plant belonged to the exceptionally safe group, where practically no fire safety violations were recorded, the guide entitled „Hydrogen-Bonded Silicon Compounds” clearly indicates that the semi-finished products used in silicone production known as SiH (Hydrogen-Bonded Silicon Compounds) can, under certain conditions, be a source of violent emissions of extremely explosive hydrogen.
But What About Hydrogen?
Part of the SiH group can emit hydrogen continuously under normal conditions. In case of other compounds, hydrogen can be a result of reactions with strong acids or bases, amines or primary or secondary alcohols. Witnesses to the incident mentioned that before the explosion, some workers tried to evacuate the building, because „something went wrong” in the process installation.
A Similar Incident In Japan
In 2014, a similar incident occurred at a factory in Japan. The indicated indirect cause of the explosion was the reaction which resulted in release of extremely explosive hydrogen. The event occurred at the Mitsubishi Materials Corp. factory during the cleaning of the heat exchanger which contained residues of trichlorosilane (HSiCl3). This compound reacts with water, water-containing solutions and even with humidity from the air, producing heat, hydrogen and hydrochloric acid. Five employees of the company were killed in the incident.