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Chapter 6. Fires and Explosions > Adiabatic Compression

6-10. Adiabatic Compression

An additional means of ignition is adiabatic compression. For example, gasoline and air in an automobile cylinder will ignite if the vapors are compressed to an adiabatic temperature that exceeds the autoignition temperature. This is the cause of preignition knock in engines that are running too hot and too lean. It is also the reason some overheated engines continue to run after the ignition is turned off.

Several large accidents have been caused by flammable vapors being sucked into the intake of air compressors; subsequent compression resulted in autoignition. A compressor is particularly susceptible to autoignition if it has a fouled after-cooler. Safeguards must be included in the process design to prevent undesirable fires that can result from adiabatic compression.


  

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