In flammable and explosive environments, sparks have to be eliminated for reliable operation and safety. Thermite sparking is a comparatively rare phenomenon which produces a relatively hotter spark than friction sparking. It involves aluminum alloys and rusted steel. This paper reviews and compares the mechanism of generating thermal and friction sparks and assesses the risks from thermite sparking. Various methods which can abolish this hazard are illustrated. The work reflects the findings of 200 publications.

The methods of thermite spark suppression in this paper will apply to all aluminum structures in drilling and production platforms. Such information will enhance safety in the use of aluminum alloys clarifying doubts about their use in the offshore environment. The paper will assess what precautions may be taken in the increasing use of aluminum on offshore structures.

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