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Where There's Smoke There's Fire?

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 

Puzzle ID:#23326
Fun:*** (2.91)
Difficulty:*** (2.11)
Category:Science
Submitted By:od-1Aca****
Corrected By:Dave

 

 

 



Mr. Od-1 had just bought a new factory to start producing hydrogen gas for his alternatively fueled vehicles. For safety reasons, there could be no flammable materials in the factory, just steel and concrete. Nothing was even painted. He then hired a company to install a state of the art fire protection system. They had installed hundreds of highly sensitive smoke detectors throughout the factory. Each was linked to a sprinkler control unit so, if triggered, it would immediately open the sprinkler above the fire. Thus, it would save the whole factory from water damage in the event of a fire. After much testing, the system was working perfectly. But when Mr.Od-1 inspected the system, he couldn't believe the colossal mistake they had made. He called the designers of the system in and explained to them, "This is a hydrogen plant. There are no flammable materials allowed in the plant, and employees wear fire proof clothing while in the plant; the only thing that can catch fire is the hydrogen itself." Understanding their mistake, the system designers rebuilt the system.
What had they done wrong?


Answer

They had installed smoke detectors only, with no heat detection system.
Burning hydrogen doesn't produce any smoke or fumes. There were no other flammable items allowed in the plant, so a fire could have burned for some time undetected by the smoke detectors.

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