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08/15/2010

Comments

jay

I haul molten aluminum everyday and know from experience that this is very safe. The truck and the pot is inspected everyday by at least 3 people plus the driver to make sure it is road safe. I really think people should do more research on the advances in technology and safety before they to much judging. Also there are more dangerous things than this going down the road everyday

Bill Liedtke

Why is tis a concern rather than being on the road with a truckload of acids for any one of a zillion products that are transported by road or rail every day that if they were to spill and come in contain with a human being would likely kill the person on contact. I'm in the aluminum industry and admit and agree that the thought of being burned to
death by molten aluminum is grotesque, but if you knew how many caustic chemicals you pass in traffic every day, you would not worry at all about the occasional molten load of aluminum. Steel in transported he same way and is much hotter!

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Jay

I work for a freight broker, and the other day I had a discussion with one of our customers about the transport of molten aluminum (which we don't facilitate, but I thought it was very interesting as I didn't know they did that), and I came upon this site just searching Google for a picture of how they transported it.

I was surprised to read about an accident in Berrien Springs here, as that's where I grew up! Wondering why I didn't remember hearing anything about the accident, I did some internet searching and it looks like it happened in 1986, two days after I was born...that would explain it! Here is the only article I could find on it, if you're still interested:

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-10-22/news/mn-6845_1_truck-driver

Kzahler101

Can any one give me proof of the post by trainman630 about 2 killed in MI. Really need more on this for an ongoing project to stop shipments of molten aluminim through my rural upstate NY town

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Zreet

Actually it is fairly common to transport molten aluminum for even hundreds of miles in the United States. For small plants or for plants that need to temporarily increase production or replace the capacity of a furnace that is out of service, it is a reasonably cost effective way to get through the situation.

trainman630

Hate to burst balloons but in Berrien Springs MI a truck of molten aluminum flipped over and incinerated two telephone company employees sitting in their car on the side of the road. So its not slam dunk safe. I suspect that since that accident safegaurds have been improved. Steel mills regularly move molten iron and steel around for some distances of up to 20 miles everyday, this is done in special railcars designed not only for the weight but also for the heat.

R.Fear

I work for a company that uses just that... molten aluminum transported from 60 miles away. If you look very closely you will notice that not only it is secured tighter than a band vault, it is also very very insulated. Even if it were to fall off the truck, it would not spill. just sayin'

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Good thing the people who invented and continue this industry didn't listen to nay-saying commentators.
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(pay site) Paper on industrial transportation of molten aluminum.

http://iweb.tms.org/Purchase/ProductDetail.aspx?Product_code=01-4941-857

"Molten aluminum is routinely transported hundreds of miles to customers in large "over-the-road" crucibles. "
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Whiting (is at least one company that) makes the over-the-road crucibles:

http://www.whiting-equip.com/media/metallurgical_equip.pdf

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And here's a company that transports molten aluminum over the road:

http://www.scepterinc.com/recycling/

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The quick and dirty seems to be that the AL is heated well above its solidus (to stay molten during transport) at a central location and it is then transported in air-tight crucibles designed to prevent oxidation and retain heat while in route.

Fascinating, thanks for bringing up an interesting bit of industry I'd never heard of in 15 years of engineering.

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Rich Rostrom

The vessel appears to be about 3 meters in diameter and 4 meters tall, for a total volume of about 28 cubic meters. It has thick walls, but it's not likely that the material of the walls is less dense than aluminum (sp gr of 2.64), so if the vessel was full, it would weigh over 70 tonnes. That's far more than is allowed on highways.

Tom McMahon

Here's more from Dave's Facebook account of his ordeal:

Dave: Hazmat number 9260. Anyone got a yellow DOT book handy?

Commenter: According to a web site that claims to be the online version of the 2004 Emergency Response Guidebook, 9260 is (believe it or not) Molten Aluminum. Now, the next question is how do they keep it molten?

Dave: Interstate 65 north out of Nashville. Sat next to it for about 20 minutes with the spout pointing right at us. If it was just the container, it wouldn't need the placard, right? How long does aluminum stay molten out in the open? And, how the fark would the fire department deal with that much molten aluminum?

Another Commenter: It'll stay molten for the better part of a day because of the volume. To the best of my knowledge, transporting any molten metals is a rarity. Try and think of an application where you had to bring the metal to a remote site to pour. I remember a steel mill accident involving a much larger crucible some years ago, the thing dumped inside the mill. Just like lava it flowed to find the lowest point burning through steel and concrete walls and doors. In the end the stuff was only 2' thick but was so hot, no one could get to the area for days to start the clean up. Then they tried spraying water on it to speed things along severly burning several men. The mills are a hellish place.

Nick

Ummm... hate to drag down your story with the laws of Thermodynamics... but I'm fairly certain that was not a vat or molten aluminum.

It was an empty vat made by a company that makes vats, that will be used to transport molten aluminum within a foundry.

Dave Hinz

OK, to be fair, this picture isn't with it pointed RIGHT at me, more like at the front bumper of our van. But, it's a better visual representation than the straight-on spout shot; the whole isometric view thing is lost.

A sense of perspective is most important in these matters. And seriously, this thing was like 10 feet across and at least as high. Why is that much molten aluminum being trucked north out of Nashville? Where is it going, why can't they melt it when it gets there, and what the HELL would anyone do if something went tragically wrong with this whole thing?

Further, what kind of twisted mind points the spout to the right, and then lets their truck drivers drive in the left lane on the interstate?

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