Project Summaries

12-213  Project Manager: E. M. Barnes

TESTING PROTOCOLS FOR DETERMINATION OF MINIMUM EXPLOSIVE CONCENTRATIONS (MEC)

Russell O. McGee, Texas AgriLife Research

Tests were conducted by the Center for Agricultural Air Quality Engineering and Science (CAAQES) and by Safety Consulting Engineers Inc. (SCE) to determine if dust found in cotton gins (gin dust) would serve as fuel for dust explosions. In other words, is gin dust explosible? The laboratory tests used by CAAQES and SCE are very different. SCE used a totally enclosed 20 liter (L) chamber, flame from a 10,000 joule (10 kJ) ignition source, reported that gin dust was a class 'A' explosible dust. CAAQES used a 28.3-L (1 ft3) chamber with diaphragm, a stationary coil as the igniter, video and pressure recordings of each test and concluded that gin dust was not explosible. SCE followed the protocols specified by ASTM E1226 and E1515. The only indicator used to determine whether a deflagration occurred during a test was pressure. If the pressure rise exceeded one bar gage (g) in a 20-L chamber test with a flame from a 10 kJ energy source as the igniter, it was assumed that a deflagration occurred in the chamber and the dust was classified as explosible. The CAAQES criterion for determining if a dust was explosible consisted of determining the minimum explosive concentration (MEC). If the MEC existed using the CAAQES test system, it was explosible! The criteria used with the CAAQES method for determining the MEC was to test concentrations starting at concentrations above the MEC and lowering the concentrations until at least one of the three tests at that concentration failed to result in a deflagration. The indicators of a deflagration were: 1) bursting of a diaphragm; 2) flame front leaving the chamber; and 3) characteristic pressure vs. time curve. It was concluded that the ASTM method of using only pressure as the indicator of a deflagration in a totally enclosed chamber would likely result of an "over-driven" test and an incorrect finding that gin dust was explosible. The result of CAAQES testing was that gin dust was not explosible.

 

Project Year: 2012
 

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