The Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study of the explosibility of various metals and other elemental dusts, with a focus on the experimental explosion temperatures. The data are useful for understanding the basics of dust cloud combustion, as well as for evaluating explosion hazards in the minerals and metals processing industries. The dusts studied included boron, carbon, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, sulfur, titanium, chromium, iron, nickel, copper, zinc, niobium, molybdenum, tin, hafnium, tantalum, tungsten, and lead. The dusts were chosen to cover a wide range of physical properties - from the more volatile materials such as magnesium, aluminum, sulfur, and zinc to the highly "refractory" elements such as carbon, niobium, molybdenum, tantalum, and tungsten. These flammability studies were conducted in a 20-L chamber, using strong pyrotechnic ignitors. A unique multiwavelength infrared pyrometer was used to measure the temperatures. For the elemental dusts studied, all ignited and burned as air-dispersed dust clouds except for nickel, copper, molybdenum, and lead. The measured maximum explosion temperatures ranged from approximately 1550 K for tin and tungsten powders to approximately 2800 K for aluminum, magnesium, and titanium powders. The measured temperatures are compared to the calculated, adiabatic flame temperatures.
Kenneth L. Cashdollar, NIOSH, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236