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Dust explosion testing

BRE Global has over fifty years of experience in assessing and classification of the explosion and ignition risk of dust and powders, from laboratory scale testing to large-scale research projects.


Our test and consulting services include:

Dust hazard classification test

Provides dust testing for the qualitative assessment of the explosibility of the dust:

  • Group A : Combustible dusts which ignite and propagate flame (explosible).
  • Group B : Non combustible dusts which do not ignite (non-explosible).

Dust explosion prevention tests

If the classification test indicates dust is Group A then the following dust tests provide quantitative data for the design of preventative measures:

Tests are carried out to either European EN or American ASTM standard.

Tests are carried out to European or International Standards:
• Layer ignition temperature (LIT) to IEC 1241-2-1 Part 2 Section 1.
• Minimum ignition temperature (MIT) to IEC 1241-2-1 Part 2 Section 1.
• Minimum explosible concentration (MEC) to BS EN 14034-3.
• Minimum ignition energy (MIE) to BS EN 13821.
• Limiting oxygen concentration (LOC) to BS EN 14034-4.
Dust explosion protection test
• Explosion indices test (Pmax and Kst) to BS EN 14034 Parts 1 and 2.

Dust explosion protection test

The 20-litre sphere dust test is used to measure:

  • Maximum explosion pressure test (Pmax) (pdf) - Rate of pressure rise test (KST) (pdf) -The Explosion Indices test measures the maximum explosion pressure (Pmax) and rate of pressure rise. The Kst value is then calculated which may be used to design new explosion protection systems or verify existing designs. The test follows ISO 6184/1:1985 and BS EN 14034 Parts 1 & 2 and the results will assist in making a DSEAR risk assessment. The test can also be carried out to the American Standard ASTM E1226-05.
  • Kst and St. Classification test. (pdf)

Dust consultancy

As a member of BSI Committee FSH/23, which covers dust explosion testing standards, BRE can provide advice on existing and forthcoming European and International dust testing standards. We also offer a range of consultancy services to the process industry covering:

Flammability hazards of bulk powder handling

Fires can occur under a number of circumstances during the processing and bulk storage of combustible powders:

  • Self-heating in the bulk storage of combustible materials.
  • Accumulations of hot material, for example in dryers, where the heat generated within the material may exceed heat lost to the surroundings.
  • Layers of dusts on hot surfaces.

BRE has extensive experience in advising on the most suitable classification and combustibility tests required to assess the potential hazard and the application of the results to practical applications.

Self-heating bulk powder tests (spontaneous combustion)

Self-heating leading to apparently spontaneous combustion is the process of ignition and combustion in a body of material without the intervention of an external ignition source. BRE conducts the following types of combustibility tests:

  • Screening test - a quick test used to determine if the material poses a self-heating hazard.
  • Isothermal basket test - used to determine the critical ignition temperature of a material, from a series of tests at different oven temperatures and basket sizes used to ascertain the safe storage times for particular sizes of storage such as silos etc.
  • Establishes if the material is classified as dangerous goods under the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods - Model Regulations.
  • Aerated/diffusion cell test - used to assess the ignition properties of bulk material collected in dryers.

Powder layer tests

Where the hazard under consideration is related to the accumulation of material on hot-surfaces, or inside dryers isothermal tests can be carried out on layers of material. BRE conducts the following types of classification tests:

  • Hot-plate layer ignition test
  • Aerated powder layer test

Typical Products Tested for Combustion and Explosibility

Acrylic Polymer  HDPE

Aluminium Dust

Amino Alcohol  Leather Dust
Bronze Powder  Liquorice Powder
Carbon Black   Melamine Dust
Carbon Fibre Dust  Paper Dust
Cereal Flake Dust  Paraformaldehyde
Coal Dust   Pharmaceutical Powders
Coke Dust  Phenolic Resin
Composite Dust  Phenylpyrazolidone (PHN)
Curry Powder  Pigment Powder
Dimethyl-phenylpyrazolidone (DPP)  Plastic Dust
Dried Sewage Sludge  Polyelectrolyte Powder
Fibre Insulation  Potato Starch
Flour  Refined Sugar
Glass Fibre Polyurethane  Resin Dust
Grain Dusts  Sodium Flurbiprofen
Gum Arabic  Sulfuramide
 Tea   Wood

Service provided by BRE Global Ltd