SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1987

Determination of Metal Sparking Characteristics and the Effects on Explosive Dust Clouds


Of major concern in industry are hazards posed by metal-to-metal sparking in environments where potentially explosive dusts are present. The probability of ignition of a dust cloud by metal sparking is dependent on many factors including the type of metal, the contact speed of the metal surfaces, the contact time of the metal surfaces, the pressure on the contact surface, and the type and concentration of the dust cloud present (per Bowden, F. P. and Thomas, P. H., “The Surface Temperature of Slidings Solids,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, Vol. 223, May 1954, pp. 29–40).

The purpose of the test program was to determine the sparking characteristics of a series of metals and the effects of the sparks produced on several types of hazardous dust clouds. Propellant and black powder dust layers and clouds would be considered as hazardous materials. The test program showed metal sparking could ignite hazardous materials in dust cloud form.

Author Information

Dahn, CJ
Safety Consulting Engineers, Inc., Rosemont, IL
Reyes, BN
Safety Consulting Engineers, Inc., Rosemont, IL
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Developed by Committee: E27
Pages: 324–332
DOI: 10.1520/STP28183S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5019-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0957-5