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  • Stephen Doria

Plant-related Combustible Dust Dangers - One Point Lesson

Combustible Dust Index
OSHA Kst Values Index

What are the specific plant-related dangers of combustible dust?

Facilities that process combustible dust may be unaware that combustible dust is accumulating in and around the ceiling and overhead horizontal surfaces and structures, behind walls and other enclosed areas. The potential for a catastrophic event increases over time for reasons such as combustible material contamination.

Facilities that process multiple types of combustible dust have greater potential for deflagration or rapid expansion of gases that develop into an explosion due to the combined chemistry between various compounds and types of combustible dust.

Facilities that manage combustibles in proximity to other processes where heat, moisture, chemicals, and incompatible reactive materials may be at greater risk for a catastrophic event.

Depending on the dust explosivity category, the plant may be severely damaged or destroyed by the explosive force of the fuel whether from low or high Kst values. For example, fiberglass gel coat dust has a higher explosivity than wood dust or grain dust.

Kst is the rate or velocity of burn for the material. Black powder burns at a rate of 500 to 200 feet per second. Kst is established while evaluating the explosivity of the dust under laboratory conditions

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