SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1987

Coal Pulverizer Explosions


In 1981 the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) began a research program to study pulverized coal fires and explosions in the U.S. utility industry. Historical trends resulting from an industry-wide survey and experimental results of explosion-related testing are discussed. The survey indicates that explosive events are occurring at a rate of approximately one explosion for each unit every three years resulting in an industry cost of one billion dollars annually. The historical trends show that although coal type has a large influence on explosion frequency, it is not the only significant factor in setting explosion hazard levels. Laboratory experiments were performed in full-scale test rigs that allowed triggering and monitoring of coal system explosions on demand. Ignition events that remained within the coal pipe created only weak pressure rise, while ignition events within the simulated pulverizer volume created explosions exceeding 70 bars (7000 kPa). These experiments showed that explosion characteristics depend on dust concentration, ration of pulverizer volume to coal pipe area, as well as coal type.

Author Information

Carini, RC
Riley Stoker Corp., Worcester, MA
Hules, KR
Riley Stoker Corp., Worcester, MA
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Developed by Committee: E27
Pages: 202–216
DOI: 10.1520/STP28175S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5019-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0957-5