Electrostatic discharges can be a credible ignition source in facilities working with explosible powders. An explosible dust cloud atmosphere is created when a critical amount of a dust is mixed with air. Ignition of that cloud can occur when the electrostatic discharge energy exceeds the minimum ignition energy (MIE) of the dust cloud.
An electrostatic ignition source is a discharge, commonly referred to as a spark, resulting from the generation and accumulation of electrostatic charges. Electrostatic charge generation most frequently occurs when any two materials come into contact with each other and then separate — for example, when powder particles come into contact with the surfaces of the processing and conveying equipment. Accumulation of electrostatic charge on an object can result in electrostatic discharges. A flash fire or an explosion hazard therefore exists during the transfer, handling, processing, and packaging of many powders (and liquids), and precautions must be taken to prevent inadvertent ignition.
This presentation will discuss the different ways electrostatic ignition hazards can arise when processing powders and the practical measures that can be considered to prevent and control them based on the requirements of NFPA 77: Recommended Practice on Static Electricity.
Vahid Ebadat PhD, M.Inst.P, MIET, and C.Phys. is CEO of Stonehouse Process Safety Inc. He has worked extensively as a process safety consultant for the chemical, pharmaceutical, food, paper and wood, and other process industries globally for more than 30 years. He has published many technical articles and papers and is a regular speaker on process safety topics, including dust explosions, static electricity, gas and vapor flammability, and thermal decomposition/self-heating hazard assessment and control. Dr. Ebadat is a member of the NFPA 77 Technical Committee on Static Electricity.
Powder and Bulk Engineering is presenting many webinars throughout 2021 to meet the educational needs of those who are currently handling powder and bulk solid substances. These webinars are an extension of the educational information we provide to you each month.
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