On February 10th, the Department of Science and Technology of Hanoi held a conference to discuss the causes for flaming vehicles.
Mr. Le Anh Tuan – Hanoi Technology University – held that the vehicles were exploded by electric shocks. “Most of the fires started from the electric system and exhaust system of engines. The fuel leaks combined with fire from electric shocks or overheat of engines,” said Tuan. “Even if we unintentionally adjust the electric system of motorbikes, the safety of the bikes is also changed. This is a risk for bike fires.”
Other scientists viewed that the petrol quality was one of the causes. For their profits, many petrol stations may blend gasoline with additives such as methanol and acetone. These additives may affect equipments of bikes and cause fuel leaks which have led bikes to burst. This reason was shared by Mr. Hoang Manh Hung – the former Deputy Director of Criminal Science Institute and Mr. Le Bach Chuc of the Center for Environmental Chemical Safety.
Many countries in the world have blended gasoline with methanol at the maximum of 5%. This is safe for vehicles. However, in Vietnam, many petrol stations may add up to 15% of methanol into gasoline, which could have softened plastic materials and melted rubber equipments in bikes.
Apart from such blending, blending gasoline with acetone could have led to bike fires. Acetone is easy to catch fire, makes other equipments damaged faster, and causes fuel leaks.
However, Mr. Le Canh Hoa – Head of the Technical Department of Vietnam Standard Institute – disagreed with Chuc. He held that such additives at high proportion in gasoline don’t ignite.
By the end of the conference, what have led to recent vehicle fires has not yet been identified. It is necessary for the scientists to make further study.