Understanding The Working And Application Of Refrigerators For Storing Flammable Material

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karishmaverma July 28, 2022
Updated 2022/07/28 at 11:42 AM
Flammable Storage Refrigerator

Many flammable materials in a laboratory cannot be stored in conventional refrigerators. However, there are special laboratory refrigerators that are designed for the safe storage of flammable material. These refrigerators can store such high-risk material at a lower temperature. The appliance works by refrigerating any flammable material by reducing its temperature to below 40°F (5°C).

As per the rule of transporting flammable material, gases and liquids are to be stored in a refrigerated compartment. Gases like nitrous oxide, acetylene, and helium shall not be stored at room temperature (above 50°F or ten °C) and should be stored in a refrigerated unit. However, before getting a refrigerator to store volatile substances in your laboratory safely, you need to know its basics first.

Structure of Flammable and Explosion Proof Refrigerators

Refrigeration is the key element in any refrigerator. The section of the appliance that contains refrigerant (if the appliance is a compressor) and evaporator (if the appliance is an expansion type) is known as the cooling section.

The liquid or gas refrigerant in this part of the machine has to be stored at a very low temperature and should remain in a condition where it remains stable for several hours. However, if the liquid refrigerant changes its temperature by 30°F within 1 hour, it can undergo decomposition, increasing its volatility significantly.

When you choose one such Flammable Material Storage Refrigerator by Global Lab Supply to store your flammable material, you need to consider the safety features of the appliance. The system should be designed with triple insulation, explosion-proof discharge tubes, and a pressure relief valve. The refrigeration system must also be designed with complete safety interlocks to prevent any leakage in case of an accident.

Working on A Flammable Refrigerator

A refrigerator works by having a compressor to produce pressure to cool the refrigerant at a higher pressure and refrigerate it at low pressure. The vaporized gas at low pressure is then cooled by the evaporator, which gives cold air, and this air is circulated through the refrigerator by the circulation fan. As a result, the refrigerant in the refrigerator is maintained at a very low temperature, say about -15 to 30°F (-26 to -1°C), thus maintaining a safe temperature for storing flammable material.

This separation of high and low pressure provides safety for storing flammable liquid or gases. If there is any leakage of refrigerant, it will be contained within the high-pressure section of the machine only. In a conventional refrigerator, the temperature is kept at around 40°F (5°C) to 50°F (10°C) range to store food. On the other hand, in a flammable and explosion-proof refrigerator, the temperature is adjusted so that volatile materials stored inside cannot ignite or explode.

What Are Its Applications?

Apart from storing the flammable material at room temperature, the compartment is built with an extinguisher or fire blanket inside it. The laboratory refrigerators also have approved safety devices such as spark-proof electrical switches, standpipes with automatic valves, etc., at their terminal points, ensuring no leakage when pressurized. Here take a look at some of the common applications of these refrigerators:

  • To store oxygen, hydrogen, and acetylene cylinders.
  • To store flammable solvents like xylene, toluene, etc.
  • To store flammable, corrosive liquids like acetic acid, etc.
  • To store moisture-sensitive material such as laboratory chemicals and reagents etc.

Installing a flammable and explosion-proof laboratory refrigerator gives you a safe storage facility with added security and safety features like a fire blanket and extinguisher. Refrigeration can keep volatile materials safe for days or weeks by withdrawing heat energy from them. This works great for storing flammable and explosion risk intermediaries and solvents.

Why Laboratories Use Flammable Refrigerators?

These refrigerators are the best option for storing flammable and explosion-risk chemicals. These are designed with proper safety features that ensure no leakage or explosion during the pressure build-up. Thus, these laboratory refrigerators are perfect for safely storing flammable chemical liquids and gases.

They do not need any intermediate storage due to their low temperature and have the capacity to hold a large number of flammable materials. In addition, laboratory refrigerators are built to contain flammable and explosion-risk materials; thus, they are safer than normal refrigerators. While using the laboratory refrigerator, you should know about the working of this appliance and its safety features.

Final Words

A flammable material storage refrigerator is the best option to store, handle and store flammable or explosion-risk materials. They eliminate the problem of spillage of chemicals and fire hazards. Moreover, they are designed with all the safety features that ensure no leakage, explosion, or any form of leakage during pressure build-up in the appliance. While buying one for safe storage of flammable substances in your laboratory, you need to know its basic working before finalizing a decision.

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