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Technical Paper

EXPLOSION PROTECTION

Explosibility Testing

Technical Paper

It takes less time than you may realize to start an explosion. 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. Leading insurance firms estimate the direct costs of an explosion typically run in excess of one million dollars, with many unprotected explosions leveling plants and/or closing businesses. The reality is that many facilities have inherent risks that should be addressed to prevent an inevitable catastrophe. 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 materials combustible or explosive nature. Material explosibility testing provides a basis for safe plant design, safe operating parameters, and safe handling procedures. It is important to find a testing lab that not only has the correct testing facilities, but is staffed with highly trained technicians, engineers, and combustion scientists. To assure proper execution and interpretation of the results, tests must also be conducted in accordance with ASTM and CEN standards. Some material tests available through certified labs, include: Maximum Deflagration Pressure (Pmax) and KST of a Dust Cloud A series of tests is conducted according to ASTM Standard E1226. 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. This series of tests can be conducted in either the 20 liter chamber or the 1m3 chamber. Maximum Deflagration Pressure (Pmax) and Kg of a Vapor Cloud Steps to determine explosibility for gases or hybrid fuels - similar to tests 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. The minimum ignition temperature is the lowest furnace temperature that results in propagation of flames determined by using ASTM E1491 methodology. The MAIT is used in the analysis and design of explosion prevention and protection systems. 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. This test assesses relative sensitivity of the sample to ignition

by electrical sparks using ASTM E2019 methodology. It is used in the analysis and design of fire and explosion prevention and protection systems. Auto-ignition Temperature of Vapors (AIT) Tests are conducted in a temperature controlled 1-L vessel. A determination of the ignition of the fuel-oxidant mixture is made by examination of the resulting pressure rise which is determined using ASTM E659 methodology. Minimum Explosive Concentration of Dusts (MEC) This test identifies the relationship between dust concentration and explosion severity, using ASTM E1515 methodology. It is used to design explosion prevention systems. Limiting Oxygen Concentration for Dusts (LOC) Determines the lowest oxygen concentration in the air at which a dust explosion will occur, using ASTM E1226 methodology. It is used in the design of explosion prevention systems, specifically inerting systems. Limits of Flammability (liquids / gases) (LOF) Determines upper flammable limit (UFL) and lower flammable limit (LFL) of liquid or gaseous chemicals in the air at ambient pressure and temperature, using ASTM E681 methodology. This test is used in the design of safety systems and process operations. Information is suitable for publication in Material Safety Data Sheets. Limits of Flammability (elevated pressure and temperature) (LOF) Determines upper flammable limit (UFL) and lower flammable limit (LFL) of liquid or gaseous chemicals in the air at elevated pressure and/or temperature using ASTM E918 methodology. This test is used in the design of safety systems and process operations. Information is suitable for publication in Material Safety Data Sheets. Minimum Dust Layer Ignition Temperature (MIT) Determines the minimum temperature at which a dust layer will ignite when exposed to a heated surface (providing a relative measure of dust ignitability), using ASTM E2021 methodology. Test results are used to analyze and design fire / explosion prevention and protection systems.

Technical Paper

Fike Standard and Non-Standard Testing In addition to these standard explosion tests, Fike conducts customized explosion application and equipment tests designed for a customers specific environment/application. Fikes unique testing capabilities and equipment include: Interconnected vessel and isolation test equipment. Can accommodate 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. Can accommodate DEA Schedule 2,3 and 4 controlled substances. Large scale testing available at state-of-the-art remote facility. In addition, Fikes knowledgeable scientists, engineers, and technicians are available to assist in the development and completion of customer specific test plans. Fikes testing facility also performs tests required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These specific tests can be used to determine whether a particular material possesses combustible properties. If the material is determined to be combustible, further tests are required to verify the specific combustion properties which in turn will help identify the appropriate level of protection needed. 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 Fikes full line of explosion protection products, go to www.fike.com. Fike Corporation Direct line : (816) 655-4557 industrialprotection@fike.com 704 SW 10th Street, Blue Springs, MO. 64015 www.fike.com

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