Mixing hydrogen and oxygen in the laboratory - issue 259

Issue Number: 259


On 16 March 2016, a hydrogen/oxygen explosion occurred in a Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) laboratory and very seriously injured a researcher. The University of Hawaii suspended activities at HNEI laboratories working with high-pressure gases, flammable or explosive materials and other high-pressure work and asked the University of California (UC) Center for Laboratory Safety to conduct an independent investigation. The present article is based solely on the UC investigation report and therefore some sections of the report have been used verbatim (using “quotation marks”) in this summary with kind permission from UC. The UC team identified the likely physical cause to be an electrostatic charge.

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