Leadership

Dust explosions

Issue 2 and Volume 138.

Dust explosions The results of a dust explosion are normally quite devastating. Arriving firefighting units usually find large amounts of destruction as well as a sizeable working fire. What makes a dust explosion so dangerous? Dust explosions occur when an accumulation of minute combustible dust particles suspended in air encounter an ignition source. The particles ignite and release combustion gases as they burn. The rapid pressure rise is due to the formation of a shock wave as a result of the expansion of these heated combustion gases. All this happens in a fraction of a second. A dust explosion usually occurs as a series of explosions. A comparatively small primary explosion is sufficient to jar dust from machinery, beams, ledges, shelving, and other areas. As a result, a larger dust cloud forms and a much larger and much more destructive explosion results. Several groups of materials can generate dust particles…

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