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From: (Timothy Melton)
Subject: Re: ammonium nitrate answers
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 14:04:47 GMT

In article <tip*>,
Tom Perigrin <tip*> wrote:
>For many years AN was considered to be non-explosive...  they used to store
>HUGE hundred foot tall piles of it, which would clump up.  They would break
>it up with bulldozers and dynamite!    Eventually the inevitable happened,
>and they found out that AN isn't non-explosive,  it's just darned hard to

You are probably thinking about Oppau, Germany in 1921.  What's even more
interesting about this was that it was not pure AN.  Here's a brief
description of the event:

Location:                 Oppau, Germany
Date of incident:         September 21, 1921
Hazardous material:       Ammonium sulfate & ammonium nitrate (50/50)
Type of accident:         Explosion
Facility type/Transport:  Chemical plant (fertilizer)
Owner of facility:        BASF
Deaths:                   430
Injuries:                 ?
Evacuation:               None

Accident description:

About 7:30 a.m. on September 21, 1921, two powerful explosions occurred at the
BASF plant in Oppau, Germany.  The explosions destroyed the plant and
approximately 700 nearby houses, and killed 430 persons.

The explosions occurred as blasting powder was being used to breakup storage
piles of a 50/50 mixture of ammonium sulphate and ammonium nitrate.  This
procedure had previously been used 16,000 times without mishap.  About 4,500
tons of the mixture were involved in the explosion, which created a crater 250
feet in diameter and 50 feet deep.

Tough stuff to set off.  But when it goes, it goes (also witness TX city).

Tim Melton          
Quest Consultants Inc.
P.O. Box 721387               (405) 329-7475
Norman, Ok 73070-8069         Fax: (405) 329-7734

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