Protection methods against dust explosions
The danger of an explosion is an ever-present problem for those who handle dusts and powders. While not all incidents receive the notoriety of grain elevator explosions or the Wrigleys chewing gum accident, most result in economic loss due to downtime, lost product capabilities, and process equipment destruction or damage. Some explosions injure or kill workers and nonplant personnel. It is the duty of every equipment designer and operator to ensure protection against such occurrences. Indeed, in some cases it is a statutory requirement. However, the fact remains that much equipment that processes or handles dusts and powders lacks any explosion protection.
This article does not address the factors leading to the formation of flammable conditions or how they are measured, it will assume that they are known or at least suspected to be present. Instead, the article focuses on available protection methods and assesses their strengths, weaknesses, and economics.