Combustible Dust Pentagon

By Jamison Scott | Posted: 09/04/2013 10:41AM


click image to zoomCombustible dust pentagon, comdust explosionDust Explosion Pentagon In order to have a fire you must have “Fuel”, “Ignition” and “Oxygen”, the three main elements of the “Classic Fire Triangle”.

However, for a combustible dust explosion you must add “Dispersion” and “Confinement” which together creates the “Dust Explosion Pentagon”. Without these five elements an explosion is impossible but not a fire.

With many larger combustible dust explosions there are two issues, first the primary issue which is the initial combustible dust explosion. Additionally, the second issue is the secondary explosion which typically comes from stagnant undisturbed fugitive dust that has settled in hidden places which becomes dispersed and suspended due to the disturbance caused by the initial explosion.

This is what happened at the Imperial Sugar explosion in Port Wentworth, Georgia, USA in 2008. The initial explosion occurred at one location within the facility and the explosion was so forceful that it literally shook other sections of the building releasing and suspending the previously settled fugitive dust, thus creating dust clouds in enclosed rooms that exploded as fire spread throughout the building.

There is suspicion this is also what happened at the sawmill explosion in British Columbia, Canada earlier in 2012.

Jamison Scott is Executive Vice President with over 20+ years of experience and is third generation member of family owned industrial ventilation manufacturing firm Air Handling Systems located in Woodbridge, Connecticut, USA. He serves on the Technical Advisory Board for Air Pollution Control and Chairs the Industrial Dust Task Force for the WMMA (Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America). He holds an MBA and is a licensed sheet metal contractor in the state of Connecticut. Air Handling Systems, 5 Lunar Dr., Woodbridge, CT 06525, 203-389-9595;;

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