I recently had an inquiry for an explosion proof refrigerator. A client wanted to store a potentially explosive chemical in a refrigerator. I decided to do some research on what “Explosion Proof” really means. I discussed this with several suppliers of flammable materials and explosion proof refrigerators and freezers. Here is what I have learned:
Explosion proof refrigerators are designed for use in areas which may have explosive or flammable gases in the atmosphere – Hazardous Locations. The compressors in the refrigerators are isolated and will produce no external sparks which might ignite explosive or flammable fumes.
Flammable material storage refrigerators are designed for storing flammable products. The compressors in these refrigerators are isolated from the interior of the refrigerator and there is nothing inside the refrigerator to generate a spark which might ignite any flammable fumes inside.
In my discussion of my client’s request the suppliers recommended a flammable materials refrigerator for storing his sample. These types of refrigerators are not designed to contain an explosion should one occur, they are only designed not to create an explosion in their normal operation. I don’t know of a storage refrigerator or freezer which is designed to contain an explosion.