Diesel engines are a potential source of ignition when used in areas where combustible gas, vapours or dusts may exist. The resulting conflagration can lead to catastrophic consequences for personnel, production and the environment.
If flammable gas or vapour is drawn into the air intake of a diesel engine it acts as an additional ungoverned fuel supply. This may result in uncontrolled engine overspeed followed by dangerous mechanical failure or flashback through the intake and the ignition of the surrounding gas or vapour cloud.
Once a flammable mixture is being drawn into the engine intake it may not be possible to stop the engine by closing down the fuel supply. For this reason, an air intake valve must be fitted to ensure a guaranteed rapid and safe engine shut down.
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