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More ways to get Braingle...

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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Comments

cdrockAus*
Jun 01, 2005

nice one, not to hard, not to easy
Ozymandias**
Jun 01, 2005

Easy, but fun!
Ozymandias**
Jun 01, 2005

Easy, but fun!
darthforman*
Jun 01, 2005

nice one.
froggyggAus*
Jun 01, 2005

Good teaser. I don't think I would want to work in it until everything fixed!
rashadAma*
Jun 02, 2005

Nice but very easy though. Wonder how it got the high "hardness" rating

But it deserves the high "fun" rating.

Cheer Od
nikapoohAus*
Jun 02, 2005

I think it got the hardness rating from dummies like me that don't remember science class. lol
vikingboyAus*
Jun 03, 2005

Fun teaser, but I'm not sure about the science being 100%.

First, only in a situation in which pure hydrogen is burning in pure oxygen would not pollutants be created. There are unburned hyrdocarbons in the air we breathe, and those would be consumed by the fire and would set off the smoke alarms.

Second, steel sujected to heat would also give off fumes, as would the equipement (painted or not).

But, I did like the teaser...made me think!
vikingboyAus*
Jun 03, 2005

Fun teaser, but I'm not sure about the science being 100%.

First, only in a situation in which pure hydrogen is burning in pure oxygen would not pollutants be created. There are unburned hyrdocarbons in the air we breathe, and those would be consumed by the fire and would set off the smoke alarms.

Second, steel sujected to heat would also give off fumes, as would the equipement (painted or not).

But, I did like the teaser...made me think!
flipflopchica**
Jun 07, 2005

Nice job, I;m not the best at science so it left me a lil confused but I guess I still get the main idea of the teaser.
dewdrop*
Jun 10, 2005

great teaser, i enjoyed trying to figure it out!
puppygirl1213Aus*
Jun 29, 2005

I like it.
loveshellylove**
Jul 31, 2005

This was very good! In response to science is'nt 100% comment...."fire COULD have burned for some time undetected by the smoke detectors"....This does'nt say "would". In a Hydrogen plant it would be a good idea to follow all safety measures.
It would probably be required by OSHA to detect heat as well as smoke.
drummergirl*
Sep 22, 2005

ya learn somethin, new everyday...=P
rkaalandAus*
Dec 10, 2005

I liked it!!! makes one think a bit!!
beegum
Dec 12, 2005

LOL, they also installed a sprinkler system rather than a carbon dioxide system (or similar oxygen displacing system)...water won't put out hydrogen fires!
tarheel*us*
Jan 12, 2006

I agree with Beegum - A water sprinkler would not put out a Hydrogen fire.
cat27514
Feb 26, 2006

ooo... The title kinda gave it away... But I liked it. Also, we are making fuel cell cars in science, and I learned that when a car is set on fire, the hydrogen will escape out of the tank and there will be a fire above your car... That's so cool!!!!! (saves you some money on car repairs too!!!)
dantak*de
Jun 17, 2006

Cat, you have that partially correct. As the hydrogen leaves your tank(assuming there is an ignition source) it will react with oxygen and burn. But, what goes into the tank? Atmosphere, ie. Oxygen. When the Oxygen in the tank reaches half of the stochiometric equivalent of hydrogen(referrence your HS chemistry class)...BOOM!!!



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