Combustible Dust 101

Combustible DustA serious safety issue facing many industrial environments is the presence of combustible dust. Any fine particulate that as the potential to ignite or explode is considered combustible dust. When combustible dust accumulates on surface areas such as ceilings, rafters, duct, or machinery, this leads to an environment that is highly flammable and explosive. When the dust is disturbed or ignited by activity within the area, the results can be devastating. If your facility’s safety is at risk due to combustible dust issues, it is imperative that you implement a system for managing and eliminating the dust.

In order to determine if your facility is at risk, it is important to understand how combustible dust originates. Combustible dust can be created by processes involving metal, wood, sugar, grain, as well as many other organic and non-organic materials. A wide array materials can become combustible under certain circumstances. Examples include:

  • Agricultural Products and Dust (Sugar, Powdered Milk, Wheat Grain)
  • Carbonaceous Dusts (examples: Charcoal, Cellulose, Corn)
  • Chemical Dusts (Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Sulfur)
  • Metal Dusts (Aluminum, Bronze, Iron)
  • Plastic Dusts (Epoxy Resin, Melamin, Vinyl)

For a more comprehensive listing of combustible dust producing materials, see this reference chart published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Explosions caused by combustible dust can include a variety of structures and facilities such as:

  • Food Processing Plants
  • Grain Elevators
  • Chemical Manufacturing Facilities
  • Metal Processing Plants
  • Recycling Facilities

Combustible dusts are generated when materials are handled, transported, processed, ground, and developed. Operations such as blasting, cutting, crushing, mixing, or sifting all produce potentially hazardous dust. The bottom line is that any facility that generates dust is potentially at risk. Fortunately, combustible dust can be effectively managed through a wide range of solutions. Examples include:

  • Cartridge Dust Collectors
  • Wet Dust Collectors
  • Industrial Paint Booths
  • Cyclone Dust Collectors
  • Bag House Dust Collectors
  • And More

Air Solutions has extensive experience in helping customers to identify combustible dust hazards, and in developing solutions to manage the threat. Contact us to find the right system for your facility.