Flammability limits of dusts: Minimum inerting concentrations



A new flammability limit parameter has been defined as the Minimum Inerting Concentration (MIC). This is the concentration of inertant required to prevent a dust explosion regardless of fuel concentration. Previous experimental work at Fike in a 1-m3 spherical chamber has shown this flammability limit to exist for pulverized coal dust and cornstarch. In the current work, inerting experiments with aluminum, anthraquinone and polyethylene dusts as fuels were performed, using monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate as inertants. The results show that an MIC exists only for anthraquinone inerted with sodium bicarbonate. The other combustible dust and inertant mixtures did not show a definitive MIC, although they did show a strong dependence between inerting level and suspended fuel concentration. As the fuel concentration increased, the amount ofinertant required to prevent an explosion decreased.

Even though a definitive MIC was not found for most of the dusts an effective MIC can be estimated from the data. The use of MIC data can aid in the design of explosion suppression schemes.