Controlling Dust Explosions caused by a Static Ignition
Dust explosions within hazardous area processing environments are not a new occurrence, and nor is static being a potential source of ignition. The earliest recorded dust explosion was at Giacomelli’s Bakery in Turin, Italy in 1785 where flour dust generated during normal operations came into contact with a mounted lamp. Flour can become combustible if it’s too dry and builds up a static charge. The bakery owner was recorded saying that the flour was the driest seen in the bakery that year. A dispersed cloud of flour originated when flour from the upper portion of the warehouse dropped to the confined warehouse below. The resulting explosion that followed injured both the worker shovelling flour into an open flame and a boy who fell from scaffolding, as a result of the flames blowing out windows onto the street. What this incident inadvertently demonstrated, apart from the violent and volatile nature of a dust explosion was an archetypal insight into the ‘dust explosion pentagon’.
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