FAQs about Non-Sparking Tools

June 02, 2022

1.  What is the meaning of non-sparking?

Non-sparking in the context of hand tools is defined as metals/tools that do not generate sparks (or cold sparks) when the tool hits or strikes another metal or concrete. They are commonly Copper-based alloys and are used to manufacture tools that do not generate sparks and are hence commonly referred to as nonsparking.


2.  Is brass considered nonsparking material?

Brass is primarily a copper-based alloy, for any material or alloy to be classified as non-sparking – it has to be tested and certified as per relevant testing Standards (Read more about IS4595 safety standard). Fundamentally, brass may be non-sparking depending on the composition. However, if it is not certified or tested - It should not be used. Secondly Brass is a soft material, making hand tools of brass will not serve the desired purpose of Non-Sparking Hand Tools – they will bend or wear out very quickly thereby defeating the purpose.

 Non Sparking Snap Ring-Internal Pliers

Non-Sparking Snap Ring-Internal Pliers

3. Why is aluminum nonsparking?

Pure Aluminum or an aluminum-based alloy (where the primary metal is Al) are NOT classified under Non-Sparking materials. Whereas Copper-based alloys containing aluminum commonly known as Aluminum Bronze, Aluminum Copper is Non-Sparking. Aluminum Bronze contains about ~ 11% Aluminum, ~ 5% Iron, 10% Nickel, and Remaining Copper.  


4.  Who should use tools that are non-sparking?

Industries, where there is a high risk of explosion or fire, should use non-sparking tools. Industries that process, manufacture, store or transport flammable solids (propellants, explosives, ammonium perchlorate etc.), liquids (MSD, ethane, etc) or gases (LPG, Hydrogen etc) have to take additional safety precautions as they are working in a high-risk environment. Non-Sparking hand tools are one such important safety measure that reduces the possibility of spark and therefore fire. Thus, industries like Oil & Gas, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, Paint Manufacturing, Power Plants, Explosives should make use of non-sparking tools. (Read how an Oil depot caught fire because of use of steel tools)

  Non-Sparking Brass Brush

 Non-Sparking Brass Brush


5.  Can copper generate a spark?

The Spark is being referred to here as a mechanical or frictional spark. Copper - because of its excellent thermal and electrical properties does not produce frictional spark, whereas copper can produce electrical sparks. Non-Sparking Hand Tools should not be confused with Insulated Tools.


6. Why are Non Sparking tools sometimes referred to as non-magnetic?

Non-Sparking Tools are also sometimes referred to as nonmagnetic because they allow magnetic fields to pass through them without being affected by them. Copper Titanium and Copper Beryllium allow complete magnetic fields to pass through them and can be classified as nonmagnetic. However, Aluminum Bronze contains two metals Iron and Nickel both of which demonstrate magnetic properties, therefore, when it comes to using nonsparking tools in nonmagnetic applications use only copper titanium or beryllium copper tools. Aluminum bronze is not completely non-magnetic and can interfere with the magnetic field (Video of Copper titanium and Aluminum Bronze subjected to a magnetic field).


7.  When working with flammable gases or explosive chemicals, what kind of tools should be used?

Hand tools made of iron or steel can emit sparks and therefore should NOT be used. Only certified or tested alloys for Non-Sparking properties should be used. Common Hand tools like spanners, wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, slogging spanners should be used based on the torque range and type of Nuts, bolts etc. (download a catalog of over 2500 standard Non-sparking Hand Tools). If standards tools do not do the job, you can get customized Non-Sparking Hand Tools designed and manufactured based on your needs. Never use fabricated or ‘jugaad’ tools when working with flammable gases or explosives because safety is paramount.

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