Sunday, February 12, 2012

How Fast Will the Fire Spread in Your Dust Layers Compared to Gunpowder (BZ 6)

A recent news account of a paper dust fire rapidly spreading a distance of 300 feet, brings to mind the importance of understanding the burning behavior of combustible dust layers.

It is time all stakeholders understand the burning behavior of their combustible dust through VDI 2263 lab test. Under elevated temperatures a layer of dust can escalate from a potentially non-spreading fire to a spreading fire. Example of BZ #'s : Salt (BZ 1) Gunpowder (BZ 6) Below are several files from BIA Report 13-97 "Combustion and explosion characteristics of dust": (BZ 1-3 No Fire Spread) in contrast to
(BZ 4-6 Fire Spread).

Index File

Information and Description File page 21/Combustion Test

Organic Products

Chemical Products

Inorganic Products

Miscellaneous Products

In thefourth file, group1_2.pdf , go to second page of material data in the last column on the right under combustibility test to find the BZ number (1-6) Note: The BZ numbers should only be used as a guideline since the dust at your facility will have unique and different characteristics of particle size, shape, moisture content, chemical composition, etc.

Another resource in locating BZ numbers is the Gestis-EX Dust database. Not all the dust samples in the database will have the BZ number. So you will have to search for several different samples in finding a BZ number to use as a guideline.

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