Basics of Non-Sparking Tools: Introduction

by Andy on December 3, 2012

CS Unitec Non-Sparking Hammer

Starting today we are going to be doing a series of articles on non-sparking tools. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be spending each Monday going into a different aspect of these tools. Today we will be laying the groundwork by answering a few basic questions you may have.

What are non-sparking tools?

Non-sparking tools are special metal tools that are used in areas that may have an explosive atmosphere. They can be made out of various types of metals such as Aluminum-Bronze (AlBr) or Copper-Beryllium (CuBe2) alloys, which do not produce hazardous sparks when struck. However, the trade off is that most of these metals are softer than normal steel alloy tools. This means they will wear out more quickly and will have to be maintained more often.

No “hazardous” sparks? Does that mean it still produces sparks?

While these tools are called “non-sparking” you may still see sparks coming off them during use. These are sometimes known as “cold sparks” as they are not hot enough to ignite carbon disulfide, which has one of the lowest ignition points of any known substance. This makes those sparks safe even around some of the most flammable gasses, dusts, and vapors. However, always check the specs and MSDS of all of your tools and flammable materials before you use them to ensure that your work environment is as safe as possible.

Where are these tools used?

Non-sparking tools are used in any area that has a risk of fire or explosion. Typically this means work areas that have flammable gas, mist, vapor, or dusts. They are also useful in places that have flammable liquids or residues. You can find non-sparking tools in a wide variety of areas including oil drilling platforms, ammunition plants, and even sugar refineries. Anywhere you have a risk of explosion you should have non-sparking tools.

That is all for this week! Come back next Monday for more information on non-sparking tools. Have any specific questions you want answered? Ask them below and I will answer them next week!

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