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Finkeren

Diesel fuel and fire hazzards

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Posted (edited)

Question for those with knowledge or real life experience:

 

When the external fuel tanks of the KV-1S are hit in the game, they erupt in a big fireball. Likewise, both T-34s and KVs seem prone to engine fires from something as "benign" as a collision with a tree trunk, and leaking fuel seems to be just as much of a fire hazzard as in their gasoline-powered counterparts like the Tiger and M4. 

 

But would this actually be the case? 

 

I know relatively little about the way fuels combust, but I was under the impression, that diesel is fairly safe under normal circumstances, especially compared to gasoline, because it only readily combusts under high pressure and otherwise is both fairly difficult to set on fire, and when it does, it burns quite slowly in open air. 

 

So what is the answer? Can fuel tanks full of diesel really erupt like that? Do diesel engines catch fire that easily? And would leaking diesel in the crew compartment really be much of a fire hazzard? 

Edited by Finkeren

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Diesel is used in ARFF training pits to simulate the same conditions as Jet A fuel.  The main difference is the flash point compared to gasoline. (100 deg F compared to -45 deg F for gas)

so it would be somewhat safer for leaks etc.

 

arff2.thumb.JPG.209398a238605b125be372e46756b966.JPG

 

arff.png.233cfbd3172f5043903c9e72bc6379f0.png

 

 

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Petrol is evil when gets hot.

Diesel is just ordinary.

 

Jet fuel is Kerosene which is "thinner oil".

 

*** do NOT do this *** Toss a cup of petrol onto a warm but not going fire place then strike a match... you will lose everything. ) *** do NOT do this ***

 

Do that with diesel and you can then compare and contrast just how evil petrol really is.

 

To make a full tank of diesel "explode" it would have to be quite hot/very very very hot. Think deep fryer catching fire.

and it's way too rich ( not enough oxygen )  so it will just burn furiously with thick black smoke IF it even catches on fire.

 

A splash of petrol in a drum and hot air and source of ignition ( naked flame etc ) and you now have a really really really loud bang.

 

Diesel is simply thin oil. Your bottle of cooking soyabean oil is just as dangerous.

 

Petrol... is nasty stuff. Many a set of eyebrows will attest to it.

 

I have a petrol stove, on 91 octane petrol it's insane.

White spirit is low octane hydrocarbon weirdness and is it's normal fare. It's less insane.

 

so if you were fighting in a steel box which fuel would you rather be sitting or positioned next to?

 

Evil petrol / relativity benign Diesel.

 

( Planes don't use Diesel due to engine weight... but jets use Kero... )

 

A ruptured petrol tank can go from boring to super evil in milliseconds....

 

I will shut up now.

 

Salute!

 

Planky ( Health and safety officer during WW2 ..)

 

 

  • Haha 1

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44 minutes ago, Plurp said:

Diesel is used in ARFF training pits to simulate the same conditions as Jet A fuel.  The main difference is the flash point compared to gasoline. (100 deg F compared to -45 deg F for gas)

so it would be somewhat safer for leaks etc.

 

Does that mean, that if the temperature reaches 100F (not that unlikely in the crew compartment of a tank out in the sun on the Russian steppe in summer) then diesel will react just as violently as gasoline and ignite just as easily? 

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4 minutes ago, Finkeren said:

 

Does that mean, that if the temperature reaches 100F (not that unlikely in the crew compartment of a tank out in the sun on the Russian steppe in summer) then diesel will react just as violently as gasoline and ignite just as easily? 

100 deg is the temp it will flash when introduced to a flame.  Auto ignition temp is around 494 deg to light on it's own. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Plurp said:

100 deg is the temp it will flash when introduced to a flame.  Auto ignition temp is around 494 deg to light on it's own. 

 

I get that. My question was: At 100F will diesel ignite as easily and violently from exposure to a flame as gasoline does at room temperature? 

Edited by Finkeren

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4 minutes ago, Finkeren said:

 

I get that. My question was: At 100F will diesel ignite as easily from exposure to a flame as gasoline does at room temperature? 

I have seen it be somewhat difficult to very difficult and also very easy for the ARFF pit to light.  So under the right conditions it could be a very bad day for someone, but yes,  diesel would be safer to operate around.

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Posted (edited)

From the book "The tanks of operation Barbarossa" I got the following:

While diesel is not as flammable as gasoline under normal conditions, if hit by a shell it explodes more violently than gasoline.

The worst posible thing that could happen is a high payload APHE shell (the T-34's own APHE is enough, so Tiger qualifies too) exploding directly in the diesel tank.

 

The results are compared to a fuel air bomb inside the tank.

 *stares frigthened at the fuel tanks inside the fighting compartment of the T-34 and KV-1*

Edited by SchleiferGER

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1 hour ago, SchleiferGER said:

it explodes more violently than gasoline.

 

That would be the compression ignition factor I guess.

But there are two ways to look at this:

 

Option A) Blown up to death .

Option B) Burned up to death.

 

however the fuel air explosive Thermobaric nature of the situation is, worrying...

 

How the devs deal with this is pretty interesting as they are going to have to generalise at some stage.

 

Tree's making tanks blow up is a bit, um, thing. Silly.

 

Right I am off. Good luck with the tanks and well, take care.

 

Salute!

 

Planky.

 

 

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Presumably we're talking about external fuel drums rather than fuel tanks. The commander of the 2nd Tank Army forbade the carrying of such drums into combat because of the incidents of crews having to jump out and put out superficial engine fires. So should you have an option NOT to carry the drums, and what would be the trade-off?

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12 minutes ago, beresford said:

Presumably we're talking about external fuel drums rather than fuel tanks. The commander of the 2nd Tank Army forbade the carrying of such drums into combat because of the incidents of crews having to jump out and put out superficial engine fires. So should you have an option NOT to carry the drums, and what would be the trade-off?

 

There would really be no trade off other than losing the, very superficial, protection of the drums getting hit first by an incoming shell. 

 

The vehicle would be slightly lighter, and of course you wouldn't have to deal with the fire hazzard. In a combat situation you can't really use the fuel in the drums, since they aren't part of the fuel system, and you'd have to siphon the fuel into the tank manually. 

The fuel drums (one of them was usually carrying extra oil) were great for long road marches, which Soviet tracked vehicles were expected to perform, but I can certainly see why you'd want to empty them before battle, if you had the chance, if they really could blow up worse than a drum of gasoline. 

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Yeah, what I was thinking was should there be advantages to the drums in order to make it a trade-off? Since we now have repair you could provide the one-off capability of 'repairing' 'out of fuel' after a time delay if you have the drums. Or perhaps the devs will say that it was doctrine that everybody carried the drums in this period.

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Posted (edited)

Actually, right now I can kinda see one advantage of the drums in multiplayer. Having them blow up rarely seems to do much damage, and when they go of with a big explosion, it might  create a false positive effect, where your attacker thinks, you are out of the fight, when in fact you are pretty much fine, sorta like it can happen in the air with the large explosion of German 20mm Minengeschoss, which can also make it seem like your plane is stricken. 

Edited by Finkeren

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External fuel tanks are less "fireball" than one would imagine.
In modern times they are often utilized as "sacrificial armor/fuse trigger" even - see fe the soviet BMPs, some BTR variant, the S-tank (Strids 103) when in full combat equipment (heatfence and diesel cans on the side).

Even igniting diesel results more in lowyield (but constant and hot temperature) fire than a "fuel bomb explosion".

As stated earlier.. things get violent if the ammunition manages to sputter/nebulize diesel into an incendiary atmosphere.
And then there is the question how the game is able to represent these chances and conditions.
Which may mean that the current ingame translation is not that bad or the best the engine can currently handle.

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On 6/14/2019 at 10:11 AM, Finkeren said:

Actually, right now I can kinda see one advantage of the drums in multiplayer. Having them blow up rarely seems to do much damage, and when they go of with a big explosion, it might  create a false positive effect, where your attacker thinks, you are out of the fight, when in fact you are pretty much fine, sorta like it can happen in the air with the large explosion of German 20mm Minengeschoss, which can also make it seem like your plane is stricken. 

 

 I've hit the drums on the KV and was rather surprised at seeing the drum flash and burn and then roll off the side of the tank but I was in no way fooled or slowed down in my (moving) target re-acquisition and subsequent knock-out.  Cool tho.

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Posted (edited)

My knowledge of fuels is very limited but I do work around fuel almost everyday (work in the oilfield and clean many fuel tanks for ships/boats).

 

Diesel is actually pretty "safe" compared to gasoline, it's fumes won't ignite like gas (not easily anyways) so you'd have to have direct flame or some ignition source come in contact with the diesel in order for it to ignite.

 

A diesel leak wouldn't be that much more at risk of ignition than a sealed tank, there would have to be direct contact with an ignition source for the fuel to ignite (unlike gasoline which fumes can ignite very easily). The chance of a diesel leak igniting is slim unless it hits open flame, sparks, or some other ignition source).

 

Coming into contact with a tree and rupturing the tank would not ignite diesel. (unless the tree is on fire)

Edited by Legioneod

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Posted (edited)

Typically with gas/diesel/jet fuel it is not the liquid itself that is a threat. The real threat is the amount of vapor fumes created that causes fire or pure heat expanding the fuel to point of explosion. Gasoline emits the most vapor and is most flammable outside of controlled conditions in comparison to diesel which only burns in controlled conditions. Which is why things like static electricity can ignite your car when merely refueling at the pump as the vapor will ignite from that little zap of electrons. 

You can actually throw a match into a tall glass of gasoline and the match will go out in the liquid. But only fill the same glass halfway and boom from enough vapor concentration to allow ignition.

Edited by Geronimo553

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Under right conditions anything will burn or even worse will turn into FAB.

 

Coal dust, salt, flour, sugar.... All you need is to know the proper ratio of fuel and oxygen and ignition source. The larger is the contact surface between fuel and oxygen the better will be the combustion. That is why vapors and aerosols are so dangerous - they typically have huge contact surface and thus access to lot of O2.

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32 minutes ago, BigBadVuk said:

Under right conditions anything will burn or even worse will turn into FAB.

 

Coal dust, salt, flour, sugar.... 

Sure about the salt? Just curious....

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Posted (edited)

Salt (sodium chloride) is the active ingredient in fire extinguishers used to put out metal fires. I don't think anything short of dioxygen difluoride would induce it to 'burn', and that's capable of setting fire to ice.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_chloride#Firefighting

Edited by AndyJWest

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Not salt,  baking soda.  Not NaCl but  NaHCO3

 

Now you made me go and dig my old books in search for details 😄

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According to original manual for T-34

"Tанк Т-34 Руководство" ВОЕННИЗДАТ Москва 1944

Chapter 9, section "Заправка танка/заправка топливом" gives instructions how to fill fuel tanks, including instruction to empty and dismantle all external fuel tanks before entering combat.

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41 minutes ago, Brano said:

According to original manual for T-34

"Tанк Т-34 Руководство" ВОЕННИЗДАТ Москва 1944

Chapter 9, section "Заправка танка/заправка топливом" gives instructions how to fill fuel tanks, including instruction to empty and dismantle all external fuel tanks before entering combat.

 

I was looking at wartime pictures of the T-34 the other day, and I did notice, that the tanks appeared much less frequent in photos of destroyed tanks than they did in photos of tanks on the march or in other non-combat situation. 

 

Many of the wrecks still had the hoop bands attached to the sides, which I guess would indicate, that the tanks were removed immediately prior to combat in some haste. 

 

It wasn't universal though. There were still plenty of examples I found of destroyed T-34s with drums still attached, so I guess procedure wasn't always followed. At least it would indicate, that the tanks weren't generally removed immediately upon arrival in the combat sector, but more like dumped right before engaging the enemy. 

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18 hours ago, Finkeren said:

It wasn't universal though. There were still plenty of examples I found of destroyed T-34s with drums still attached, so I guess procedure wasn't always followed. At least it would indicate, that the tanks weren't generally removed immediately upon arrival in the combat sector, but more like dumped right before engaging the enemy. 

It might depend on the time, the pics were made. Especially in the beginning of the war in the SU, russian tank units were pretty often attacked in surprise. So they might not have had the time to remove the barrels.

On 6/17/2019 at 5:24 AM, Geronimo553 said:

Typically with gas/diesel/jet fuel it is not the liquid itself that is a threat. The real threat is the amount of vapor fumes created that causes fire or pure heat expanding the fuel to point of explosion. Gasoline emits the most vapor and is most flammable outside of controlled conditions in comparison to diesel which only burns in controlled conditions. Which is why things like static electricity can ignite your car when merely refueling at the pump as the vapor will ignite from that little zap of electrons. 

This.

The main problem with Diesel leaking inside the compartment is, the crew will not be able to fight very long because the vapor fumes cause severe nausea, even unconsciousness. 

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Posted (edited)

The perfect video as it basically covers everything. Watch this and tada basically an expert compared to the majority of people. lol


(sound is a little annoying being on one side)

(also the red diesel errmm "heating oil" does work in a diesel engine no probs. I have no idea how I know this and totally must of heard it from a friend. I completely do not put that in my vehicle as it is very dangerous and not taxed properly for vehicle use, I promise.)

 

Edited by Geronimo553

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Posted (edited)

     Another internet contender for a "Darwin Award" https://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2018.html! If his knowledge and practice of handling hazardous materials is consistent with his knowledge of aviation gasoline (let's hear it for Goggle}, he is going to win big time! Keep up the good work pal. As Forrest Gump says "Stupid is as stupid does".

:crazy:            :gamer:            :wacko:

Edited by Arfsix
Typing

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On 6/26/2019 at 12:23 AM, Geronimo553 said:

basically covers everything.

 

Nope.

 

New petrol has additives in it make it work better in fuel injected engines.

 

If you treat OLD petrol like it's NEW petrol you will lose your eyebrows.

 

What you want in NEW petrol is for it to emulsify, I think, and it's hard to do that

squirting out of a nozzle especially in direct injection. So they cook up petrol

that is actually tricky to light under certain circumstances. but once it does catch ... 

 

and that guy is super lucky he didn't knock over a jar of that burning petrol.

The fuel would spill over the board he gets it all over him and his purple hoodie

melts onto him. What a guy, the LEAST he could of done is stand the fcuk back.

Fire extinguisher not in shot. Come on kids watch this rubbish.

 

All you have to do it really burn yourself ONCE and you don't act like a dork

with sources of ignition and fuel EVER AGAIN. it hurts.

 

The old wise guy always picks a bit of metal off the bench near the welder with a pair of pliers.

 

Fire is not your friend when it goes awol.

 

and I have seen some stuff that would make your hair stand up.

 

Salute!

 

Planky.

 

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On 6/26/2019 at 1:59 AM, Yogiflight said:

The main problem with Diesel leaking inside the compartment is, the crew will not be able to fight very long because the vapor fumes cause severe nausea, even unconsciousness. 

Depends on the concentration, you'd be surprised how long you can stand in diesel fumes without being affected though eventually it will make you either high or sick.

 

On 6/26/2019 at 2:23 AM, Geronimo553 said:

(also the red diesel errmm "heating oil" does work in a diesel engine no probs. I have no idea how I know this and totally must of heard it from a friend. I completely do not put that in my vehicle as it is very dangerous and not taxed properly for vehicle use, I promise.)

 

Red diesel is marine (sea) diesel, at least in the states, it's completely fine for automotive engines but it's illegal to use on anything that drives on a road due to it not being taxed. If you're caught with marine diesel in you're vehicle it's a pretty hefty fine (most of the time).

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5 hours ago, Legioneod said:

Depends on the concentration, you'd be surprised how long you can stand in diesel fumes without being affected though eventually it will make you either high or sick

I didn't experience it myself, but in a training camp in my time in geman army, one of our IFVs had to take a longer brake, especially the driver, because of Diesel fumes inside his compartment.

 

5 hours ago, Legioneod said:

Red diesel is marine (sea) diesel, at least in the states, it's completely fine for automotive engines but it's illegal to use on anything that drives on a road due to it not being taxed. If you're caught with marine diesel in you're vehicle it's a pretty hefty fine (most of the time).

Might be the same here, too, when there is no tax on it, but those who have nothing to do with marine fuel, know the red Diesel as heating oil. BTW, I am not sure if modern Diesel engines will like it very much, because today's Diesel, like gasoline is mixed with additives for more power output and cleaner burning in the engines. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Yogiflight said:

I didn't experience it myself, but in a training camp in my time in geman army, one of our IFVs had to take a longer brake, especially the driver, because of Diesel fumes inside his compartment.

 

Might be the same here, too, when there is no tax on it, but those who have nothing to do with marine fuel, know the red Diesel as heating oil. BTW, I am not sure if modern Diesel engines will like it very much, because today's Diesel, like gasoline is mixed with additives for more power output and cleaner burning in the engines. 

 

Yep, I have first hand experience with diesel fumes (I work in diesel tanks), ain't fun when you're exposed for long periods without respirators. The fumes get into your lungs and it almost feels like you're suffocating (you can kinda feel the toxins), it takes a long time to clear it all out of your system at least in my experience.

Red diesel usually runs fine in most engines (we used to run it in our trucks) but it's really for heavy duty marine engines on ships and tugs.

 

It seems I've gotten this thread a bit ot.

Edited by Legioneod

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4 hours ago, Legioneod said:

 

It seems I've gotten this thread a bit ot.

 

Don't worry about that. 

 

I think I got my answer to the original question: Diesel is less of a fire hazzard than gasoline, but it is far from safe and can potentially ignite under the circumstances present in the fighting compartmen of a tank. 

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