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Aerosol Hair Spray Fire - Georgia
A 70-year old woman Judge was preparing herself for the day in her bathroom at her home. She either dropped or knocked over a large aerosol hair spray. When the aerosol fell, it impacted on something that punctured it. The puncture released the contents of the aerosol including the isobutane propellant and the ethanol solvent, both of which are highly flammable. A propane-fired hot water heater was inside the bathroom and the pilot light ignited the flammable propellant and solvent from the hairspray, causing severe burns to the woman. While in recovery from her burns, the woman suffered a stroke. The aerosol hairspray was manufactured in an aluminum monobloc aerosol container. The issues in the case addressed by Chemaxx were the impact/puncture resistance of the aluminum monobloc aerosol container and its advantages/disadvantages compared to three-piece steel aerosol containers. The methods employed by Chemaxx included simulated drop-impact tests, mechanical strength tests, hardness testing, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDAX).
Chemaxx, in the course of its on-going and continuing impact-puncture testing, has discovered an aerosol container that offers significantly greater impact-puncture resistance over the more common aerosol containers. See the discussion of Super Can under Aerosol Containers.
Dr. Fox is a Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator who is also an aerosol expert. He has made presentations at national societies on the fire and explosion hazards associated with aerosols and has published several peer-reviewed, scientific papers on the failure of aerosols.
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