Why Do We Need to Worry about Static Electricity?

In this lesson, you will learn more about how static electricity is formed and why you must be aware of static electricity risks when handling flammable fluids.


How Does Different Material Behave in Terms of Static Electricity?

Conductivity differs between different materials. To know how to handle your equipment onboard, you will learn more about the classification of materials in this lesson.


What Are the Sources of Static Electricity Onboard?

In this lesson, you will learn more about static accumulators and the importance of interting when handling flammable fluids.


What Precautions Can Be Implemented to Mitigate the Risks Posed By Static Electricity?

What can you do to minimize the risks of static electricity? In this lesson, you will learn more about precautions to prevent incidents that electrostatic discharges may cause.

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Step 2 of 4•1 minute read


Small particulate matter carried in inert gas can be electrostatically charged. The charge separation originates in the combustion process and the charged particles are capable of being carried through the scrubber, fan and distribution pipes into the cargo tanks. 

The electrostatic charge carried by the inert gas is usually small, but levels of charge have been observed well above those encountered with the water mists formed during washing. Because the tanks are normally in an inert condition, the possibility of an electrostatic ignition has to be considered only if it is necessary to inert a tank which already contains a flammable atmosphere or if a tank already inerted is likely to become flammable because the oxygen content rises as a result of ingress of air. Precautions are then required during dipping, ullaging and sampling.

Flammability diagram for Methane. Original: WikiwaymanVector: Power.corrupts, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Discharge of Carbon Dioxide

During the discharge of pressurised liquid carbon dioxide, the rapid cooling which takes place can result in the formation of particles of solid carbon dioxide that become charged on impact and contact with the nozzle. The charge can be significant with the potential for incendive sparks. Liquefied carbon dioxide should not be used for inerting, or injected for any other reason into cargo tanks or pump rooms that may contain flammable gas mixtures.

When CO₂ is used as a fire extinguishing medium, studies have shown that due to the generation of electrostatic charges during the releasing of the same from the pressurised liquid form, it may cause ignition of pyrolysis gases in case of a smouldering fire.