Dust and gas explosions are deadly and commercially devastating. Unfortunately, many of them occur at facilities without a prior explosion incident, providing a false sense of security. The reality is that many facilities have inherent risks that should be addressed to prevent an inevitable catastrophe, which can permanently shut down a business.
When it comes to safety and protection in dealing with dust explosions, there is little margin for error — effective testing, product analysis and explosion risk management are critical. The first step in hazard analysis is to effectively determine the material's combustible or explosive nature. Fike has a state-of-the-art testing explosion protection laboratory and full-scale test site, staffed with highly trained technicians, engineers, and combustion scientists; and all tests are conducted in accordance with ASTM and CEN standards to assure proper execution and interpretation. Among the standard tests offered through Fike’s testing facilities are:
Maximum Deflagration Pressure (Pmax) and KST of a dust cloud.
Dust samples are pneumatically thrown into suspension and the maximum rate of pressure rise is used to calculate the KST value — an internationally recognized index used to classify dust explosibility. This test measures the potential explosion severity of a dust/air mixture, and is used to assist in the design of explosion protection systems.
Maximum Deflagration Pressure (Pmax) and Kg of a vapor cloud.
Used to determine explosibility for gases or hybrid fuels — similar to test for dusts.
Minimum Dust Cloud Ignition Temperature or Auto Ignition Temperature (MAIT).
The minimum temperature at which a dust cloud will ignite when exposed to air heated in a furnace.
Minimum Dust Cloud Ignition Energy (MIE).
Determines the lowest spark energy required to initiate a dust explosion. Small quantities of dust are pneumatically thrown into suspension and ignited with an electric spark within a test vessel.
Auto-ignition temperature of vapors
Conducted in a temperature controlled 1-L vessel.
Minimum explosive concentration of dusts (MEC)
Identifies the relationship between dust concentration and explosion severity and is used to design explosion prevention systems.
Maximum oxygen concentration for dusts (MOC)
Determines the lowest oxygen concentration in the air at which a dust explosion will occur, and is used in the design of explosion prevention systems — specifically inerting systems.
Limits of Flammability (liquids/gases)
Determines upper flammable limit (UFL) and lower flammable limit (LFL) of liquid or gaseous chemicals in the air at ambient pressure and temperature.
Limits of Flammability (elevated pressure and temperature)
Determines upper flammable limit (UFL) and lower flammable limit (LFL) of liquid or gaseous chemicals in the air at elevated pressure and/or temperature.
Minimum dust layer ignition temperature
Determines the minimum temperature at which a dust layer will ignite when exposed to a heated surface (providing a relative measure of dust ignitability).
All of these tests are used to not only determine the material's combustible or explosive nature, but help in determining the basis for safe plant design, safe operating parameters, handling procedures and analysis and design of explosion protection and prevention systems – all in accordance with ASTM and CEN standards, as well the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
In addition to standard explosion tests, Fike conducts customized explosion application and equipment tests designed for a customer’s specific environment/application and are available to assist in the development and completion of test plans.
Fike’s unique testing capabilities and equipment include:
- Interconnected vessel and isolation test equipment.
- Accommodation of gas/vapor, dust, and hybrid fuels.
- Multi-channel high-speed data acquisition systems, instrumentation, and high-speed digital video available for capturing the physical characteristics of each event.
- Ability to accommodate DEA Schedule 2,3 and 4 controlled substances.
- Large scale testing available at state-of-the-art remote facility.
Fike is a globally recognized supplier of products and services that protect people and critical assets from dangers such as fire, explosion, and over-pressurization. With over 65 years’ experience manufacturing safety solutions, Fike offers a complete line of proven, reliable products to customers around the world.
For more information on testing and Fike’s full line of explosion protection products, go to www.fike.com.