Testing to assess your powder's fire and explosion hazards
Do you know how easily your powder can be ignited? And if it did ignite, how strong would the explosion be and how much damage would it cause? If you don't know the answers to these questions, you can't ensure that your powder won't ignite or that your plant could withstand the explosion's force. This article describes the steps in assessing fire and explosion hazards, provides some testing guidelines, and then discusses four types of tests for determining your powder's fire and explosion properties.
Many powder processors incorrectly interpret fire and explosion test results, rely on published test results rather than test their own powder, or rely on old test results even though their powder or process has changed. Recent dust explosions illustrate this point. In one case, a chemical manufacturer was milling an intermediate powder when a severe explosion occurred. Two workers were injured and the plant was seriously damaged. In another, an explosion occurred in a fluid bed dryer processing a pharmaceutical. The explosion sent pressure and flame into the work space, which damaged the equipment and the plant, even though the dryer had been equipped with explosion relief panels.