The danger of explosions in industrial environments is a serious issue. Hazards largely center around the issue of combustible dust. It is important to understand how combustible dust originates and how to mitigate explosion risks with explosion protection and prevention equipment solutions.
What is Combustible Dust?
Combustible dust can be generated by processes involving metal, wood, sugar, grain, and many other materials. A wide variety of dusts can become combustible under certain circumstances. Any fine particulate that has the potential to ignite or explode is considered combustible dust. 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 more on combustible dust producing materials, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a reference chart with a more comprehensive list.
Do you have Combustible Dusts within your Facility?
It is important that you know the nature of the dusts in your workplace. One of the first questions that should be answered is, “Has your dust been tested?” Proper design to mitigate your risks will require the Kst and Pmax values for your dust. NFPA standard will also require that you have a DHA (dust hazard analysis) performed.
Why is Combustible Dust so Dangerous?
As combustible dust accumulates on or within surface areas such as ceilings, rafters, duct work, or machinery, the potential for a highly flammable and explosive atmosphere is created. In the likely event that the dust is disturbed or ignited by activity within the area, the results can be disastrous. A wide variety of facilities are at risk due to combustible dust issues. It is not only important, but mandated by regulatory law, that a system be implemented for explosion protection and prevention.
Explosion Protection and Prevention Equipment Solutions
According to OSHA, conditions under which a combustible dust explosion may occur can be described as the “dust fire and explosion pentagon”. The five elements necessary for a combustible dust explosion include:
- Combustible dust
- Ignition source
- Oxygen in air
- Dispersion of dust particles in sufficient quantity and concentration
- Confinement of the dust
Proactive equipment solutions prevent deflagration by taking one or more of these elements out of the equation. Reactive equipment solutions isolate and contain deflagration.
The Air Solutions team is ready to assist you in coordinating an explosion risk assessment that will typically include recommendation of protection measures, as well as proactive and reactive explosion protection equipment. Air Solutions can help if you need dust testing or require a DHA at your facility.
We represent BS&B offering BS&B Explosion Protection products which include:
- Flameless venting
- Explosion suppression
- Building duct vents
- Chemical explosion isolation
- Mechanical explosion isolation
In implementing protection technology, our team considers the constraints of the process equipment, facilities, environment, and budgets in achieving the project safety goals required by codes and standards.
Contact us today to discuss your project!