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How what causes dust explosion?

Conditions for dust explosion Sources of dust Sources of ignition Mechanism of dust explosion Condition for dust explosion There are basically 5 requirements for dust explosion and altogether it is called the explosion pentagon.

combustible dust or any hybrid mixture cloud Dispersion/suspension (must be at a high concentration) Ignition source Confinement of dust cloud (or hybrid mixture cloud) Oxidant (typically atmospheric oxygen or other oxidants such as fluorine, chlorine and bromine)

Sources of Dust Many materials that tend to oxidize can cause explosion. Flammable substances cause high risk of explosion. Coal dust is the most common causes of explosion in mines. But even mundane or ordinary substances can also become explosive when in fine dust form as we have learned from the case of the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion. Other examples also include grains, wood, coal, plastics, foams, pharmaceuticals, and certain metals (i.e. aluminum, zinc, iron, and magnesium). Sources of Ignition

electrostatic discharge (from electrical equipment) Mechanical friction (as this can produce sparks) arcing from machinery or other equipment hot surfaces, including, e.g., overheated bearings fire

Mechanism of dust explosion According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), As little as 1/32 of an inch of organic dust over 5 percent of a rooms surface area presents a significant explosion hazard. To explain realism of this hazard, the question first is that what makes dust highly flammable? So imagine, for example (lets assume) we have a 1kg of spherical crystal of density 0.7 g/cm3. This has a volume of 0.00143 m3 and 0.06 m2 surface area. But in dust form, this 1 kg of crystal can have a surface area of 120m2. Dusts have very large surface area compare to their volume. And since combustion only occurs at the surface of the material where it can react with oxygen a 1 kg of dust is highly flammable compare to 1 kg of a bulk material. The tremendous increase of surface area of dust makes it burn much faster, and the extremely small mass of each particle allows it to catch on fire with much less energy than the bulk material. Therefore even a small source of ignition or spark can cause a series of explosion of the accumulated dust. If there is also confinement of the dust in a warehouse or silo, there is a pressure build up sufficient enough to demolish a building which has exactly happened to the Imperial Sugar refinery.

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