SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1987

Introduction to Dust Explosions


This Bureau of Mines paper is an introduction to the subject of dust explosions. The phenomena associated with the occurrence of dust explosions are described in general terms, with several specific examples of dusts that react so rapidly and exothermically with air that destructive pressures are generated when they are dispersed and ignited. The accompanying gas-dynamic phenomena are also considered in some detail in terms of rates of pressure rise, speed of flame propagation, confinement, turbulence, and propagation dynamics. The explosion probabilities in any given plant or facility can be quantified in terms of the state of dispersion of the dust, its lean limit concentration, and its ignitability characteristics (thermal, electrical, and chemical). Dust explosions are contrasted with gas explosions in terms of those factors. Other variables considered for the dusts include volatility, particle size, oxygen content of the dispersing “quo;air,”quo; initial temperature, initial pressure, the presence of added fuel gases, and inerting or extinguishing requirements. Data to be discussed include laboratory measurements and full-scale test results; phenomena to be considered include both the fundamental and the practical.

Author Information

Hertzberg, M
Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, Pa
Cashdollar, KL
Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, Pa
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Developed by Committee: E27
Pages: 5–32
DOI: 10.1520/STP28163S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5019-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0957-5