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Boiler Explosion Causes and Preventions

Boiler Explosion Causes:

Boiler explosion occurs not only due to boiler accidents. Many other factors involved in a boiler explosion. Some of the main boiler explosion causes are the following:

  • Design faults
  • Construction faults
  • Corrosion
  • Unskilled boiler attendant
  • Improper water treatment
  • Boiler pressure increases from design pressure
  • Overheating of tubes due to low water level
  • Faulty safety valves and other mountings

Boiler explosion causes are different in different types of boilers. Some of the main and common causes discus here.

  • If boiler feed water has acidic properties, then corrosion occurs in shell, plates, and stays. In a smoke tube boiler, firebox plates will collapse due to corrosion.
  • Grooving in boilerplates decreases the strength of plates. Weak plates also a major factor of a boiler explosion. Grooving occurs in the boiler where plates circle is improper and expansion and contraction also improper. The mostly grooving fault occurs near joints.
  • External corrosion also involves in a boiler explosion. Leakage in flanges and tubes is the main reason of external corrosion. An excessive amount of sulfur in fuel also causes corrosion. This corrosion weakens the plates and results as a boiler explosion.
  • External deposition of soot’s also caused corrosion.
  • Due to Boiler overheating, plates will burst or collapse. Low water level, improper water circulation, and deposition of scales are the major factors of overheating. Overheating leads to boiler explosion causes. Lancashire, Marine and Cornish Flu collapse due to overheating. Furnace tubes will also collapse. Combustion chambers tube pledge and formation of steam packets also occur with the help of overheating of boiler. Overall these all factors (overheating) involves an explosion.
  • If cold water feed to the overheating tubes than a boiler explosion also occurs due to sudden steam generation.
  • Boiler over pressurization also a major cause of a boiler explosion. For example, if a safety valve overloaded for some reason or faulty seat (defective safety valve) increases the chances of explosion.
  • Cracks in rivets and joints increase the probability of boiler explosion causes. Improper hole punching, improper use of chisel during boilerplates and riveting cocking, damages the joints. These damaged joints can also explode the boiler. Blustering in boiler tubes also the reason for the explosion.
  • In the firebox, improper expansion and contraction between firebox plates and shell plates create strain in stays. Stays break as a result of strain which causes the boiler explosion.
  • Failure of rivet joints also the main cause of the boiler explosion. Following are the reasons for rivet joint failure:

Sharing of rivets

Plate crack in between rivet line

Plate crush in front of rivets

Bursting of the plate in front of rivets

Cracks in welding joints

  • Defective steam boiler fitting and mountings also involve in the explosion
  • Water-tube boiler tubes exploded due to corrosion, pitting and overheating.
  • The gas explosion affects the boiler heating surface very badly. If boiler light up without removing unburned gases in the flue gas path, than unburned gases suddenly catches the fire and cause the boiler explosion.


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