Rags soaked with linseed oil stored in a pile are considered a fire hazard because they provide a large surface area for oxidation of the oil, and the oil oxidizes quickly. The oxidation of linseed oil is an exothermic reaction, which accelerates as the temperature of the rags increases. When heat accumulation exceeds the rate of heat dissipation into the environment, the temperature increases and may eventually become hot enough to make the rags spontaneously combust.
In 1991, One Meridian Plaza, a high rise in Philadelphia was severely damaged and three firefighters perished in a fire caused by linseed oil-soaked rags. An apartment in Sacramento also caught fire due to the spontaneous combustion of linseed oil-soaked rags.
Read more about this topic: Linseed Oil
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Famous quotes containing the words combustion and/or spontaneous:
“Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th Ethereal Skie
With hideous ruine and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
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Who durst defie th Omnipotent to Arms.
Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe”
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