Chemical Incident Analysis Involving Storage of Fertilizer Product
Keywords:self-sustaining decomposition, fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, forensic engineering, exothermic reaction
A forensic engineering analyses of a chemical incident is presented that was classified as a self-sustaining decomposition (SSD) event, which occurred in a load of 10,000 tons of NK 21-00-21 fertilizer bulk stored inside a warehouse in the city of São Francisco do Sul in Brazil. The chemical reaction developed within the fertilizer mass and took several days to be controlled, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of residents. The water used to fight against the reaction, after having contact with the load of fertilizer material, promoted changes in adjacent water bodies, causing the death of animals (fish, crustaceans, and amphibians). The smoke from the chemical reaction products damaged the incident’s surrounding vegetation. Large SSD events are rare, with an average worldwide frequency of one every three years. Therefore, in addition to presenting a case study of this type of phenomenon, the main objective of this work is to discuss the causes that led to SSD reaction at this event, evaluate its consequences, and motivate future studies.
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