Laboratory Pressure Vessel Explosion

In February 2016, the University of Hawaii had an incident where a highly reactive mix of pressurized gases within a high-pressure tank encountered a spark, likely from static electricity. As a result, the tank was blown apart, seriously injuring the researcher and causing significant equipment damage.

While this incident didn’t happen at NASA, we should ask, have we protected our pressure systems from similar risk? In this month’s Safety Message, Steve Lilley, senior safety engineer from the NASA Safety Center, briefs the recent System Failure Case Study on this incident, including how NASA can learn from this major mishap.