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Thread: Dust Explosion Experiences

  1. #1
    boursr Guest

    Question Dust explosion experiences

    Often the dust and bulk handling industries are warned for the potential hazards of a dust explosion. Preventive and protective measures are recommended, but little to no evaluations are doen with regards to the actual implementation of such measures, and their potential effects.

    I would therefor like to invite those that have had "real" exposure to such events to share their experiences, allowing others to learn. Therefor please advise if you might have had some explosion-like events in installations, what were the observations, was there damage ? Has the cause, or potential cause, of the explosion-like event been determined? Was the installation protected originally by means of explosion prevention or explosion protection measures? How effective were the measures used ?

  2. #2

    Explosions in grain and oilseed derivatives Terminals

    Last October and last weeks there have occurred 2 big explosions in 2 nearby grain terminals north from Rosario in Argentina.
    I can supply some more informations next week, and I am in search of expertise to check possible causes.
    Pablo Ferres

  3. #3
    I have worked for 39 years in the plastics industry handling explosive dusts and thus have extensive experience in explosion prevention and protection methods. Have personally seen and investigated several dust explosions. In most cases I have found that they could be avoided if the system was designed correctly using NFPA guidelines.


    Amrit Agarwal (Tim)
    Pneumatic Conveying Consultants

  4. For the most part even the best dust containment design will fail if proper maintenance procedures are not implemented and followed with discipline.
    Explosions occur because there is an ignition source and fuel of some sort. One has to consider both and have discipline not to take short cuts in order to avoid tragedy.
    Many places are designed to recognized guidelines and are timebombs.
    Just my two cents opinion.

    Antonio Reis
    Vitrom Mfg Consultants

  5. #5
    I agree with Antonio about maintenance, however, it is critical to design the facilities based on "safe mode". What safe mode means is that the facilities are designed assuming the worst case scenario which could be poor maintenance. In this mode the facilities are forced to automatically shut down if the facilities are not operated according to their design.


    Amrit Agarwal (Tim)
    Pneumatic Conveying Consultants

  6. #6

    Reply to Antonio and Amrit

    Thanks to both of you, we are currently dealing with the aftermath of 2 dust explosions nearby, ( Toepfer's and Arg. Cooperatives Association.) and we are collecting information from NFPA, GEAPS, and other sources to check and eventually correct and improve our cleaning, dust supression sistems, and all eventual spark risks.
    Kind Regards,
    Pablo Ferres

  7. #7
    Dear Pablo,

    If you don't know the MIE, (Minimum Ignition Energy, in MilliJoules)of the finest dust particles you are handling, the first thing you need is to get this data.

    NFPA standards are based on the MIE of sub-200 mesh particles, but if have mostly sub 400 mesh particles you will need the MIE of sub 400 mesh.

    I prefer explosion venting to explosion supression because supression hardware is not that reliable unless properly maintained.

    I don't think that inerting as a design method to prevent dust explosion would be applicable in your case.

    Would be glad to answer any questions that you may have.

    Amrit Agarwal (Tim)
    Pneumatic Conveying Consultants

  8. #8
    boursr Guest

    Thumbs up

    The latest issue of the NFPA68 is quite helpfull in assisting to design venting against explosions.

    The totally reworked edition will be quite clear in assisting those looking for dust explosion venting guidelines and application solutions

    Prevention against explosions should always be sought and can be for example done by relatively simple measures like keeping the dust humid during transportation

  9. #9
    I agree that NFPA68 guidelines should be used for the design of venting systems to protect equipment against internal dust explosions. However, it must be understood that use of NFPA68 does not PREVENT dust explosions, only protects the equipment from catastrophic damage.

    In addition there are many details that NFPA68 does not cover. It would be advisable to get advice from experienced specialists for full application of NFPA68 and for the detailed design of the venting system.

    Regarding making the dust humid to prevent dust explosions this is a debatable issue. If the dust has a static charge, humid atmosphere in the equipment would be helpful for dissipating the static charge but not otherwise.

    Amrit Agarwal (Tim)
    Pneumatic Conveying Consultants, or

  10. #10
    boursr Guest
    A "perfect" solution is always the result of preventive measures (see NFPA 69) and protective measures. The preventive measures will be focussing on reducing the risk leading to explosions, where as protective measures are aiming at reducing the effects of an explosion.

    In any case the blending of preventive and protective measures are to be done with care to avoid creation of a false feeling of safety: personnel could be given the impression that the installation/equipment is safe where as the risk for a devastating event still exists.

    Often the investments involved will lead to a conclusion not to protect: this again is to be avoided. If budgets prevent doing the full solution, then it is always best to focus on highest effect measures first then create phased approach to solutions

    In any case the advise of expert is recommended to avoid unneccessary or ineffective investments

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