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ASTM E1515-14(2022)

Standard Test Method for Minimum Explosible Concentration of Combustible Dusts

Standard Test Method for Minimum Explosible Concentration of Combustible Dusts E1515-14R22 ASTM|E1515-14R22|en-US Standard Test Method for Minimum Explosible Concentration of Combustible Dusts Standard new BOS Vol. 14.01 Committee E27
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Significance and Use

5.1 This test method provides a procedure for performing laboratory tests to evaluate relative deflagration parameters of dusts.

5.2 The MEC as measured by this test method provides a relative measure of the concentration of a dust cloud necessary for an explosion.

5.3 Since the MEC as measured by this test method may vary with the uniformity of the dust dispersion, energy of the ignitor, and propagation criteria, the MEC should be considered a relative rather than absolute measurement.

5.4 If too weak an ignition source is used, the measured MEC would be higher than the “true” value. This is an ignitability limit rather than a flammability limit, and the test could be described as “underdriven.” Ideally, the ignition energy is increased until the measured MEC is independent of ignition energy. However, at some point the ignition energy may become too strong for the size of the test chamber, and the system becomes “overdriven.” When the ignitor flame becomes too large relative to the chamber volume, a test could appear to result in an explosion, while it is actually just dust burning in the ignitor flame with no real propagation beyond the ignitor.

5.5 The recommended ignition source for measuring the MEC of dusts in 20-L chambers is a 2500 or 5000 J pyrotechnic ignitor.4 Measuring the MEC at both ignition energies will provide information on the possible overdriving of the system.5 To evaluate the effect of possible overdriving in a 20-L chamber, comparison tests may also be made in a larger chamber, such as a 1 m3-chamber.

5.6 If a dust ignites with a 5000 J ignitor but not with a 2500 J ignitor in a 20-L chamber, this may be an overdriven system.5 In this case, it is recommended that the dust be tested with a 10 000 J ignitor in a larger chamber, such as a 1 m3-chamber, to determine if it is actually explosible.

5.7 The values obtained by this test method are specific to the sample tested (particularly the particle size distribution) and the method used and are not to be considered intrinsic material constants.


1.1 This test method covers the determination of the minimum concentration of a dust-air mixture that will propagate a deflagration in a near-spherical closed vessel of 20 L or greater volume.

Note 1: The minimum explosible concentration (MEC) is also referred to as the lower explosibility limit (LEL) or lean flammability limit (LFL).

1.2 Data obtained from this test method provide a relative measure of the deflagration characteristics of dust clouds.

1.3 This test method should be used to measure and describe the properties of materials in response to heat and flame under controlled laboratory conditions and should not be used to describe or appraise the fire hazard or fire risk of materials, products, or assemblies under actual fire conditions. However, results of this test may be used as elements of a fire risk assessment that takes into account all of the factors that are pertinent to an assessment of the fire hazard of a particular end use.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific precautionary statements are given in Section 8.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.01
Developed by Subcommittee: E27.05
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/E1515-14R22
ICS Code: 13.230