Systems for electrostatic evaluation in industrial silos


  • Laurence G. Britton

    1. Central Engineering Department, Union Carbide Corporation, P.O. Box 8361, South Charleston, West Virginia 25303
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    • Larry Britton completed his BS degree with 1st class honors (1974) and PhD (1977) in Fuel and Combustion Science at Leeds University, England. He spent four years as Research Fellow in Applied Electrostatics in the Electrical Engineering Department of Southampton University. He is currently a Project Scientist in the Safety Research Laboratory at Union Carbide's Sooth Charleston Technical Center, specializing in process fire and explosion hazards research. He is a member of AIChE, the Institute of Energy, the Combustion Institute, and is a Chartered Engineer (UK). He serves on the “Static Electricity” and explosion protection systems technical committees of the NFPA.


While a primary strategy for avoiding ignition during silos filling lies in control of the ignition energy of the suspension, it may also be possible to control the energy of on-bed brush discharges created during filling. Two instrument systems are described for investigations in operational, full-scale process equipment. A discussion is made of the effective energies of brush discharges, the effects of process variables on static, and types of charge neutralizer that have been used or proposed. The instrument systems allow pragmatic, in-plant evaluation of the effects of process variables and the benefits of any charge neutralizer system that is used.