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Can air brake cans explode?

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  • Can air brake cans explode?

    In the event of a truck fire, a truck with air brakes, with a fully involved tire fire or cargo fire do the air cans for the rear braking system have potential of exploding if heated enough?

  • #2
    Having come from the trucking maintenance industry to the career fire service; I felt compelled to answer your post. Though technically possible due to autoexposure or radiated heat, I would bet my money on the relief valve letting go prior to any type of pressure vessel rupture. If there is any air in the reserve tanks, it would heat up and expand and activate the relief valve. Or, as in a case which I expierienced, the air line was comprimised, releasing the air.

    Good question!!

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."


    • #3
      Army... don't forget the spring chamber on most modern brake systems. Tin, there is a HIGH pressure spring in most air brake "cans" if the spring is freed by fire or by force (in the case of an MVA) STAY AWAY from it. It has enough force where it can easily cause SEVERE injury. I would recommend reading up on it or asking any truck mechanics you might know. Just like Amry said.... great question.


      • #4
        The air tanks should not explode when exposed to fire. Most hoses and couplings have rubber or plastic parts that will melt or burn away allowing the pressure in the tanks to escape. The air system usually operates between 110 and 120 psi. The automatic relief valve operates when there is excessive pressure in the system. The air tanks are made of steel or aluminum with mostly brass fittings. The most dangerous part of the air brake system is the “piggy back” brake chamber. There is a compressed spring inside of the chamber that can cause serious injury if inadvertently released. These chambers are usually damaged when the axle area of the truck is struck. The axle area of the truck needs to be checked for damage, from a distance, before working in this area.


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