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Homework Help: Potential difference across water and oil causing explosion, how?

  1. Jan 27, 2013 #1

    "An oil tanker has just entered port and is being cleaned using a high-pressure hose. The washing of the hull and deck continues until there is a large explosion. The fire marshal investigates and pronounces that the explosion was the result of cleaning the ship with water. Explain his or her reasoning."

    This question is on an electric fields assignment so the answer is related to that, it is quite vague and hard to research an answer.

    However, I think the answer is something along the lines of the water causing an electrostatic charged mist which creates a potential difference and ignites the gas due to a discharge across this potential difference. Can anyone verify this/explain this in a clearer way?
  2. jcsd
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