An assessment of electrostatic ignition hazards associated with fuel flow through plastic pipes at roadside filling stations

G.L. Hearn, U. von Pidoll, J.M. Smallwood, A. Ticci
Journal of Electrostatics, Volume 70, Issue 2, April 2012


The use of electrically insulating synthetic materials, such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), for fuel pipelines and other fuel handling components is now widespread. It is well reported however that the flow of fuel under certain conditions in plastic pipes can produce measurable levels of electrostatic charge.

This paper describes in detail a full-scale experimental test rig simulating a filling station layout – in particular the conditions existing during road tanker delivery of high-charging fuels. It presents data from a series of electrostatic measurements, discusses results and draws conclusions with regard to existing safety margins and precautions for safe operation.

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