Is Your Dust Combustible?

Combustible Dust is a hot topic these days, but what is so surprising is that there are still many facilities who are a ticking time bomb but think they are safe from an explosion. All too often when our technicians visit a facility the managers and workers think their dust isn’t combustible dust. Unfortunately, the dust they thought was harmless is actually very combustible and is creating a hazard.

NFPA 654 defines combustible dust as “A combustible particulate solid that presents a fire or deflagration hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations, regardless of particle size or shape.”

There are five elements that are needed in order for a combustible dust explosion to happen – dust, oxidant, dispersion, confinement and ignition. As many of you may already know, surfaces start out clean and free of any combustible dust. Throughout the manufacturing process, dust begins to collect on the floor, machinery and even on high surfaces. The empty space of the building is full of an oxidant, which is typically oxygen. Something then disrupts the dust, dispersing it into a dust cloud. Since the dust cloud is contained within the walls of the building, an ignition source is created within reach of the dust cloud, causing it to ignite and create an explosion.

Below is a list about the different types of materials that create dust that is highly combustible

  • Wood and Sawdust
  • Plastics and Rubbers
  • Coal and other Fossil Fuels
  • Sugars, Grains and Food
  • Paper
  • Textiles (cotton and nylon)
  • Metals (iron, aluminum, zinc chromium and magnesium)
  • Chemicals

Many times the greatest danger is the one that goes unnoticed, and combustible dust hazards are a severe danger that is often ignored. If you have questions about Combustible Dust Remediation, Contact Us Here or call 888.845.3952