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Old 12-09-2007, 10:29 PM   #1
 
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Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

I have a Toyota Prado (Lexus in the US) converted to LPG, it runs pretty much the same as petrol but with half the cost. I've always wondered about the safety of the gas tank and lines compared to that of petrol. My thoughts are that if it's going to blow it's going to blow, they do build LPG tanks to be much stronger than fuel tanks so this may = a bigber bang in a serious impact...
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:32 PM   #2
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

I don't know what LPG is but if you are getting twice the mileage on it then I want it. Assuming it costs the same as gasoline.
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:49 PM   #3
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

I costs about half the price and I get "similar" performance to petrol. LPG is liquid petroleum gas.
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:57 PM   #4
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

As far as "explosive" Autogas is more explosive than petrol.. It is a mixture of propane and butane, but I do believe that it is safe.. "crash and fire tests have proved that the strength and integrity of tanks fitted to LPGA safety guidelines (CoP11) make the LPG fuel system safer than petrol." So I guess the type of tanks make it more safe.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:04 PM   #5
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

And it burns clean, oil is clean when you change it. It's all good. I run a 90L petrol second tank anyway for start up and reserve but a lot of cars out here run straight LPG - Every single taxi in the country fo rexample.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:09 PM   #6
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

The simple chemical nature of LPG ensures that it burns cleaner producing less pollution. Also, it is produced as a by-product of oil extraction and refining operations. The Brits produce a surplus of millions of tonnes each year.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:23 PM   #7
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

Petrol isnt that explosive - it tends to be vapour thats explosive, so a full tank is hard to explode, if it breaks open and catches fire it will burn but not explode.
Most flammable gases will tend to be more explosive in that its easier for the whole thing to burn rapidly.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:26 PM   #8
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

Well you can throw a match into a bucket of petrol and it's won't go - POOOF
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Old 12-10-2007, 3:17 AM   #9
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

LPG typically has a Higher Heating Value (HHV) of around 21,500 Btu per pound. Gasoline (petrol), if I remember correctly, has an HHV of around 17,500 Btu per pound. So there is not a huge difference in their energy content. The bid difference is that petrol remains mostly liquid at atmospheric pressure and typical ambient temperatures, whereas the constituents of LPG are gaseous at atmospheric pressure.

It has already been mentioned that you can throw a match into a bucket of petrol (if you are brave/stupid enough). But you probably don’t want to throw a bucket (or even a thimble) of petrol at a lit match. The petrol will partially vaporize and atomize and you will probably not survive the experiment.

Car (or bike) accident causing a petrol tank to leak on hot metal parts or hot asphalt generates quite a bit of vapour, and if it arrives at a source of ignition you can indeed have an explosion. But it will be a RELATIVELY small explosion.

I don’t know of anybody using LPG on a bike, but there is no reason it can’t be done. Car (or bike) accident is perhaps unlikely to break an LPG tank, because I believe any tanks used in vehicles is supposed to be very much stronger than, say, a barbeque propane tank. But if there is a fire from, for example, another vehicle’s petrol tank, or from a broken LPG fuel line, and the LPG tank is exposed to the flames, it might overheat, overpressure and fail. The results are spectacular.

The pressure inside the tank keeps the LPG a liquid. At atmospheric pressure it has to be kept at around -40 deg C (= -40 deg F) for it to stay liquid. When the pressurized tank full of liquid LPG fails, and pressure is reduced to atmospheric pressure, virtually all of the LPG flashes to vapour. in the presence of a fire all hell breaks loose.

This is called a BLEVE (pronounced Blevee) which stands for Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion, and it is truly catastrophic. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWjxrAhpBQk for an example of a “small” one. There are many examples.

So in my opinion LPG is significantly more explosive. But it can polute less, and has a lower CO2 footprint, so I wish more cars and trucks used it as a fuel.
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Old 12-10-2007, 3:55 AM   #10
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

We use LPG at work with our forklifts, because its far cleaner and safer. If a tank or fuel line of LPG were to rupture, it will NOT flash instantly into vapor. You'd have a big pool of very cold steaming LPG on the floor. These tanks have a large relief valve to help prevent rupture of the tank. If you did manage to rupture and tank and want an explosion, the vapor would have to be between the lower explosive limit of 1.8% and the upper explosive limit of 9.5%. If there's no ventilation, the vapor will build and may seek an ignition source for an explosion. If the liquid finds a igntion source immediately, you'd just have a big fireball just like gasoline.
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Old 12-10-2007, 4:11 AM   #11
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

We have 2 very conflicting points of view here now - At least it is clean and green and we can agree on that. In Australia we get a pretty hefty subsidy from the govt to have it installed on our cars. (I got over 2k back) I hope they never take that away.
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Old 12-10-2007, 7:03 AM   #12
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

Originally Posted by Bigdaddy75 View Post
We have 2 very conflicting points of view here now - At least it is clean and green and we can agree on that.
Actually, we agree on more than that. I have no argument with what dattaway was saying. LPG is, in most cases, more safe than gasoline. But my premise was that the tank ruptured because of being exposed to fire, in which case there absolutely will be a BLEVE.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:18 AM   #13
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

Both these fuels have good and bad. Let's face it, they are all fuels and burn. Upper and lower explosive limits are similar but LPG being gaseous and heavier than air will pool but not visible like gasoline. Outdoors because there is usually a breeze present makes pooling of LPG not a great concern but in an enclosed area with a leak, it can be very dangerous. LPG expands I believe 270 times as it changes from a liquid (how it is stored) to a gas. LPG systems have many safety devices built in and the tanks are way overbuilt and very safe. To me a bigger concern is EFI cars. Modern gasoline fuel systems run around 60 psi and when a line is ruptured in a crash there is almost always an engine fire that worsens quickly even though fuel pumps shut off during crashes. There is still a lot of residual fuel in the lines.
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Old 12-12-2007, 1:10 AM   #14
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

Thanks gentlemen I feel pretty good about the upgrade anyway - if your considering the conversion to LPG then I can say it's well worth it. The safty aspect was my only concern. Fom what I can tell they are on par with each other - hydrogen anyone?
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Old 12-12-2007, 1:23 AM   #15
 
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Re: Petrol or LPG - Which one is more explosive?

Originally Posted by Bigdaddy75 View Post
hydrogen anyone?
That you need to keep cool as it will burn off even if it's not used. I don't know how Honda is taking care of that, but the BMW's will have an empty tank after a few days. Then you will have a garage full of explosive gas.

People will be driving around the 21st century:
LZ 129 Hindenburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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