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Aerosol Super Can

Aerosol Super Can

Aerosol Super Can

Catastrophic Explosion

Spray Paint Puncture & Fire



Areas of Expertise

Michael Fox, PhD.




Over the past 15 years Chemaxx has investigated numerous aerosol-related accidents, injuries and fires. One type of accident is the inadvertent puncturing of aerosol containers through accidental dropping. The experimental testing showed that the most common aerosol container is punctured from a 3-foot drop or less. For example, the typical 3-piece steel aerosol container is punctured from a fall of as little as 8 inches or less when impacting a dull wood pyramid (as seen in the video below) or 4 inches when impacting the corner of an angle iron. It is worth emphasing that a free-fall of less than 8 inches onto a dull wood pyramid will puncture a typical 3-piece steel aerosol container.

Free-Fall Drop from only 8 inches onto a dull wood pyramid. Green paint can be seen spraying from the can. Close Up of ¼-inch long puncture is seen in still photo to the right.

Close Up of ¼-inch long puncture caused by free-fall of only 8 inches onto a dull wood pyramid.

Since many aerosols contain flammable propellants and solvents, this easy-to-puncture characteristic of aerosol products presents a severe fire danger to unsuspecting consumers, as seen in video to the right. It also presents an impact hazard as punctured aerosols can become flying objects.

In the course of Chemaxx's continuing impact-puncture testing, highly rare three-piece steel aerosol containers that were significantly more resistant to puncture than its counterparts were discovered. These rare finds are collectively and affectionately referred to as "Super Can."

Fireball created when an aerosol spray paint free-falls only 3 feet onto a dull wood pyramid when ignition sources are present.

For example, in one test configuration Super Can's DOT counterpart punctured from a 3-4 foot drop, whereas Super Can did not puncture in the same test when impacted from over 8-9 feet. In another test configuration, the typical 3-piece aerosol container punctured from a 4-inch drop, whereas a rare Super Can did not puncture in this same configuration from a 4-foot drop.

It is believed that the ability to withstand impact puncture would greatly reduce the likelihood of accidental punctures (and related injuries). It should be noted that "Super Cans" were found to be extremely rare and infrequent and the evidence indicates that they are produced accidentally rather than intentionally.

Chemaxx fully characterized Super Can's mechanical properties (stress-strain behavior) as well as its microstructure and chemical composition.

Since these extremely rare and infrequent Super Cans were purchased off the retail shelf, they obviously came through the usual three-piece aerosol can manufacturing process, including the standard 130° F water bath. In other words, its superior puncture resistant properties were not at the expense of out-of-the-ordinary manufacturing processes, materials or tooling, and none of the other can properties, such as the typical DOT deformation or burst requirements, appeared to be adversely affected. One product found to be contained in a Super Can (the strongest) was purchased at the retail price of one dollar. Clearly, there are no financial barriers to the use of Super Can technology.

Chemaxx has published a peer-reviewed publication that both describes and quantifies the superior puncture-resistant properties of Super Can together with the details of its mechanical properties, microstructure, chemical composition and method to manufacture.

Whoever uses the technology will greatly reduce the likelihood of puncture related incidents and their associated legal costs, not to mention a very significant improvement in consumer safety. Additional savings might be found in reduced insurance premiums. It is believed that these lowered risks and savings could be accomplished with little to no additional manufacturing expense or sacrifice in the other important DOT requirements. And it is worth repeating that there would an improvement in consumer safety.

Interested parties may contact Chemaxx at 800-MIKE-FOX (645-3369) or

Dr. Fox is a Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator who is also an aerosol expert. He made presentations at national societies on the fire and explosion hazards associated with aerosols and was the first to publish a peer-reviewed paper on aerosol failures. He now leads the field in the number of peer-reviewed papers on aerosol failures.