Laboratory and large-scale dust explosion research



This paper describes dust explosibility research in full-scale experimental mines and a 20-L laboratory chamber at the U.S. Bureau of Mines and in a 1-m3 laboratory chamber at Fike Corporation. The purpose of this research is to improve safety in mining and other industries that manufacture, process, or use combustible dusts. As part of this work, carbonaceous dusts with a wide range of volatilities and various particle size distributions were studied. Laboratory data on the minimum explosible concentrations of predispersed dusts were comparable to mine data for nominal dust loadings that were dispersed by the aerodynamic disturbance from a gas ignition zone. Recommendations are given on the limitations of small-scale testing such as “overdriving” by too strong of an ignitor. The effect of dust particle size on explosibility data is illustrated for coal and aluminum dusts. For both dusts, the finest sizes were the most hazardous. The inerting requirements for preventing explosions were also measured in both laboratory and large-scale systems. All the data show relatively good agreement between the laboratory and the large-scale tests.