Quantcast

Burned EX flyer

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

n1lul

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
101
Reaction score
0
I saw this on a gas RC boat forum that I visit. I asked the son if I could cross post so that we could get the power of the rocketry community behind his recovery. The updates seem positive. The person injured is named "pop" Huff.

Hey Gang,

I got a call from Pop around 6:30 last night asking me to come over “NOW” and take him to the E.R. He was mixing up a batch of propellant for rocket motors when for some unknown reason the mixture of Ammonium Perchlorate and Aluminum ignited.

The resulting “explosion” ignited several other rocket motors that were on the workbench. Pop managed to get kick the burning motors out the shop door before the whole place went up (there are lots of chemicals stored in there).

Both hands and forearms are SEVERELY burned. His upper arms are burnt too as well as his lower abs (his shirt was on fire and he didn’t notice until it was too late). Luckily his face and eyes escaped with very little damage. When we got to the E.R. the Dr took one look @ him and started calling the burn centers @ Grady and Augusta. He was able to get in @ Grady and was transported via ambulance last night.

I just spoke with Mom and they have him medicated, cleaned, and bandaged up. His vitals are stable and he is in good spirits, all things considered. They are awaiting a check up from the Burn Specialist to decide on a go forward strategy. My youngest brother, Carey is there now and I am headed up around lunch...

Just to give you an idea, these are not the Estes rockets you buy @ the toy store...

http://www.phoenixmissileworks.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G73KrgB7ses

Thanks,
Lamar
 

dave carver

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,965
Reaction score
4
...he had dry powder metal mixed with dry powder oxidizer?
 

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
13,962
Reaction score
190
...he had dry powder metal mixed with dry powder oxidizer?
From what I've heard (not much, but some), he was experienced at it and made a mistake.

Like working with power tools, some things are best not done with distractions, when you're not feeling well, or anything else that can lead to mistakes you know not to make.

I do not know the circumstances that led to this individual's mistake, but I suspect there was a distraction of some sort.

-Kevin
 

at1mgd

New Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Sorry to hear about this terrible accident. If it's true that this individual was mixing his metals with AP as two dry components, that is a serious mistake.

My understanding of propellant mfr. is that you ALWAYS wet any metals FIRST with the binder mixture AP is added last before curatives.

My 2 Cents.

Wayne
 

dedleytedley

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
292
Reaction score
0
That's a terrible injury and it's bad for the rocketry community at large when these things happen. It sounds like the procedures used were haphazard despite the stated experience of the injured man. Having loaded motors adjacent to the mixing operation is asking for trouble. Potentially dangerous operations like this can be made less hazardous by using an explosion containment/diversion box. I saw a design some years ago that consisted of a plywood-sheet metal sandwich formed into a rectangular tube open on the ends. It had a viewing window on the top of thick plexiglas and long heavy gloves attached to the front wall. The design contains fires to the box and directs explosions to the ends away from the operator. Of course the hands and arms may sustain injuries but these will likely be less severe than when unprotected. If a device like this had been used in this case the man may not have been injured at all. I believe making propellant is best left to the pros. Ted
 

jsdemar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
478
If a device like this had been used in this case the man may not have been injured at all. I believe making propellant is best left to the pros. Ted
I don't think something like you described is wise nor should it be recommended. Plexiglass and plywood are both sources of fragmenting material.

APCP propellant mixing is safe if materials, processing, and tools are understood and precautions are followed. There isn't an explosion hazard if fine metals are not used, and if ingredients are added in the appropriate order using non-sparking tools. There is a danger of mass fire if there is a source of spark or flame nearby. Two most vulnerable steps are when adding metals during mixing and when cutting/coring grains.

Let's hope his injuries are not as bad as it sounds, and he has a quick recovery!
 

Mike Di Venti

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
400
Reaction score
1
Please stop guessing as to what Don did or didn't do.
I don't know what happened but I do know that Don is a very experienced research motor maker.
Unless someone has direct info from his family, stop.
It does nobody any good for spectulation and rumors to start for our members here or visitors looking in.
Thanks.
 

n5wd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,030
Reaction score
2
...Unless someone has direct info from his family, stop.
It's a shame that Carey's original posts about his dad's accident and condition have disappared from the Rocketry Planet forum.
 
Last edited:

Fred22

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
3
I hope he gets better soon. Ex isn't for me but I get the impression this thread was about hoping for a speedy recovery :)
Cheers
Fred
 

ben_ullman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,509
Reaction score
0
Please stop guessing as to what Don did or didn't do.
I don't know what happened but I do know that Don is a very experienced research motor maker.
Unless someone has direct info from his family, stop.
It does nobody any good for spectulation and rumors to start for our members here or visitors looking in.
Thanks.
I agree completly. He does know what hes doing and mistakes happen.

Ben
 

jsdemar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
478
A message over on the R/C boat forum says that Don is in good spirits and has had some skin grafts done today.

It may take some time before we know what happened to cause the accident. I agree that mistakes can happen, but there are circumstances where problems are more likely to occur. It's helpful to discuss these risks to prevent accidents in the future. Simply saying that "he's experienced" and "mistakes happen" infers that APCP motor making is randomly dangerous.

Don is relatively new to HPR (a couple years), and as far as I can tell from his postings on RP and TQC's EX forum, he's fairly new to EX (a year or so) and has done mostly 38mm motors (PBAN, Epoxy, and APCP methods). Some of his messages talked about grinding KNO3 and AP with a coffee grinder, using a hot crock pot, rigging up a curing oven for PBAN, and also getting very fine metals. Although anything can be done safely, some processes and ingredients greatly increase the risk.

-John
 

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
3,144
Reaction score
554
It's helpful to discuss these risks to prevent accidents in the future. Simply saying that "he's experienced" and "mistakes happen" infers that APCP motor making is randomly dangerous.

-John
Statistically it is, now. Let's hope Don has a speedy recovery and this is the last accident.
 
Last edited:

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
13,962
Reaction score
190
A message over on the R/C boat forum says that Don is in good spirits and has had some skin grafts done today.
That's positive news, and hopefully a good indication of things to come for him.

It may take some time before we know what happened to cause the accident. I agree that mistakes can happen, but there are circumstances where problems are more likely to occur. It's helpful to discuss these risks to prevent accidents in the future. Simply saying that "he's experienced" and "mistakes happen" infers that APCP motor making is randomly dangerous.
Not only what the risks are, but how to best mitigate them. But, that's a topic best left for a forum that's not yet been created here. It's coming, I just have to rules modifications to do, first.

Risks and how to mitigate them would be an excellent thing for some of the more knowledgeable folks to share.

-Kevin
 

ben_ullman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,509
Reaction score
0
Not only what the risks are, but how to best mitigate them. But, that's a topic best left for a forum that's not yet been created here. It's coming, I just have to rules modifications to do, first.

Risks and how to mitigate them would be an excellent thing for some of the more knowledgeable folks to share.

-Kevin
:y: :D :blush: thank you!

Ben
 

MaxQ

Tripoli 2747
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,409
Reaction score
56
Location
Central Viginia - USA
A message over on the R/C boat forum says that Don is in good spirits and has had some skin grafts done today.

It may take some time before we know what happened to cause the accident. I agree that mistakes can happen, but there are circumstances where problems are more likely to occur. It's helpful to discuss these risks to prevent accidents in the future. Simply saying that "he's experienced" and "mistakes happen" infers that APCP motor making is randomly dangerous.

Don is relatively new to HPR (a couple years), and as far as I can tell from his postings on RP and TQC's EX forum, he's fairly new to EX (a year or so) and has done mostly 38mm motors (PBAN, Epoxy, and APCP methods). Some of his messages talked about grinding KNO3 and AP with a coffee grinder, using a hot crock pot, rigging up a curing oven for PBAN, and also getting very fine metals. Although anything can be done safely, some processes and ingredients greatly increase the risk.

-John
"he talked about getting in some 6u (!) aluminum to try"

Anymore on that one?
The guy that posted this on the "other" Forum made no bones about NOT using this, and seemed adamant about it,.....irrespective of his experience level...which may be the subject of debate based on the above....

I pray for his speedy recovery...terrible thing.
 
Last edited:

Huff360

Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
I'll cross post this to RP as well, so that all can see it.

First off - I asked Darrell to pull the original article. There was some stuff in it (that was provided by my brother) that we were not sure about. We felt it better to simply refer to it as an accident and not say he was mixing AP and AL. Darrell removed that thread at my request. I have since given him our approval to edit it a bit and repost. As soon as he recovers from a computer crash, he will do that.

Mike Di V - I agree. Let's leave the speculation out of this. Once Dad has recovered and is back at the keyboard, I am sure he will let everyone know what led to the fire. I was not there, so I will not try to guess either.

As far as what happened - Dad was in the shop mixing another batch. A fire started which began to spread to some grains on the table. He used his hands/arms to drag all the burning materials off the table away from the previously prepared grains. While doing that, he set his shirt on fire. This resulted in 2nd and 3rd degree burns on both his hands and arms from fingertip to armpit, as well as on his stomach.

He was taken to the local ER by family and was transferred to a burn center in Atlanta. He has been there since Wednesday night (the 3rd). He had some skin grafts today and seems to be doing well. He will remain at the burn center until at least this coming weekend. The doctors seem to be confident that he will not have any permanent loss of mobility.

He is in pretty good spirits, but a lot of pain. His recovery will be a pretty long process.

Fred, I agree with you as well. This thread should be focused on a speedy recovery at this point. Once Dad is back to discuss the event, we can talk about what happened and how to prevent it for others. He was by himself that unfortunate evening, so it would be best left to him to talk about those events.

Carey Huff
 

Binder Design

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,721
Reaction score
185
Carey,

Thank you for the update. Let your dad know that our thoughts are with him. Brenda and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Mike Fisher
Binder Design
 

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
13,962
Reaction score
190
The doctors seem to be confident that he will not have any permanent loss of mobility.
That right there is what's most important -- the hows, whats, whys, etc don't matter. Your dad's health and recovery do. It's great that the doctors think he'll have full mobility when he's fully recovered.

He is in pretty good spirits, but a lot of pain. His recovery will be a pretty long process.
Attitude is big, at this point, and the fact that he's in good spirits is a real plus. He's going through an incredibly painful process, and unfortunately the medical community is a bit limited on some of what they can do to alleviate the pain.

-Kevin
 

quickburst

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
1,683
Reaction score
24
I don't know Don on a personal level, but I have spoken to him over the phone on several occasions. I hold him in high regard, he is a well spoken intelligent man.

I have had skin grafts, he's in for a rough ride. I wish him all the best.
 

THier

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
657
Reaction score
2
when cutting/coring grains.
Which is why I have grown to love the Tru-core product, no cutting or coring. I use my power miter box to cut the casting tubes, takes half a second each, and then all you have to do is seperate the grains when cured, and pop off the nipples.

Tom
 

DannyB

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
348
Reaction score
0
I realize this is a half decade old thread, but last week I met the gentleman who was injured and thought the details may help others avoid the same mistake. I hope I'm not breaking forum rules by posting about ex here. First off, he's a great guy, well experienced, and this was a sad tragedy (he did recover after skin grafts to his entire arms and hands), but it could have been avoided. The way I understand it is first he used a coffee grinder to mill AL, IMO a coffee grinder should never be used, although it's not uncommon. Second, he used a coffee grinder to mill AP, again IMO that is not safe. When AP is milled too small it becomes highly reactive, in some instances filling the room with a highly combustible cloud. Third, he used the same coffee grinder for both the metal and oxidizer (which was about to become highly reactive). He was unaware of AL stuck in the grinder seal or lid when he went to grind the AP (the AL was removed, it was only "dust" left). When the two came in contact the result was sadly catastrophic. I hope the takeaway of don't mill AP unless you are highly skilled and well aware and of the dangers, don't use the same mixer for metals and oxidizers, and never allow AP to contact dry AL, always wet your metals before adding AP, is helpful. This is as accurate as I recal him telling me, I hope it helps avoid someone else from making the same mistakes.

-Dan
 

ksaves2

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
5,888
Reaction score
276
I realize this is a half decade old thread, but last week I met the gentleman who was injured and thought the details may help others avoid the same mistake. I hope I'm not breaking forum rules by posting about ex here. First off, he's a great guy, well experienced, and this was a sad tragedy (he did recover after skin grafts to his entire arms and hands), but it could have been avoided. The way I understand it is first he used a coffee grinder to mill AL, IMO a coffee grinder should never be used, although it's not uncommon. Second, he used a coffee grinder to mill AP, again IMO that is not safe. When AP is milled too small it becomes highly reactive, in some instances filling the room with a highly combustible cloud. Third, he used the same coffee grinder for both the metal and oxidizer (which was about to become highly reactive). He was unaware of AL stuck in the grinder seal or lid when he went to grind the AP (the AL was removed, it was only "dust" left). When the two came in contact the result was sadly catastrophic. I hope the takeaway of don't mill AP unless you are highly skilled and well aware and of the dangers, don't use the same mixer for metals and oxidizers, and never allow AP to contact dry AL, always wet your metals before adding AP, is helpful. This is as accurate as I recal him telling me, I hope it helps avoid someone else from making the same mistakes.

-Dan
Nice followup. It's very dicey to mill one's components if they do not know what they are doing as obvious as this case shows. I believe it's accepted and prudent to acquire ones components in the desired grade and mesh to eliminate the need for
"uncontrolled" milling. I am not a pyro guy but read some of their literature/posts and saw when they did ball mill oxidizers, they did it in an isolated area, laid heavy mats of various types over the ball mill, stacked weights on the mats so if it blew, the
conflagration was obtunded, used a long extension cord and got the heck away when they turned on the switch.
It is EXTREMELY dangerous to do metals and oxidizers together in a dry state and if the size/mesh is uncontrolled, the danger goes up exponentially. This is why when dealing with APCP mixing, it's wise to use safe, accepted practices with the order
of mixing components. (Get a book if one is curious about it. This is not the Research Group.)

Again, don't mix anything if one is unfamiliar with the process and be aware of the accepted practices to stay safe. Kurt
 

dhbarr

Amateur Professional
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
6,498
Reaction score
1,114
ob·tund/əbˈtənd/
verb

dull the sensitivity of; blunt; deaden.

Today I Learned!
 
Top