I&EC Research September 2019

Cover of I&EC Research journal from September 2019

“Mitigation of Iron and Aluminum Powder Deflagrations via Active Explosion Suppression in a 1 m3 Sphere Vessel”

Featuring Mark Shiflett and his team including doctoral student Nicholas Reding, and their collaborators Thomas Farell, Robert Jackson, and Jérôme Taveau.


Combustible metal dust explosions continue to present a significant threat to metal handling and refining industries. Addition of noncombustible inert material to combustible dust mixtures, through either premixing or high-rate injection as the incipient flame front begins to develop, is common practice for preventative inhibition or explosion protection via active suppression, respectively. Metal dusts demonstrate an extremely reactive explosion risk due to amplified heat of combustion, burning temperature, flame speed, explosibility parameters (KSt and Pmax), and ignition sensitivity. Inhibition efficiency of suppressant agents used for active mitigation is shown to be reliant on fuel explosibility, discrete burning mechanism, and combustion temperature range and thus may be increasingly variable depending on the fuel in question. For this reason, mitigation of metal powder deflagrations at moderate total suppressed pressures (relative to the overall strength of the enclosure) and at low agent concentrations remains challenging. This paper reviews recent metal dust suppression testing in a Fike Corporation’s 1 m3 sphere combustion chamber and evaluates the efficacy of multiple suppression agents (sodium bicarbonate [SBC], sodium chloride [Met-L-X], and monoammonium phosphate [MAP]) for the mitigation of iron and aluminum powder deflagrations at suspended fuel concentrations of 2250 and 500 g/m3, respectively.


Nicholas S. Reding, Thomas M. Farrell, Robert Jackson, Jérôme Taveau, and Mark B. Shiflett. Mitigation of Iron and Aluminum Powder Deflagrations via Active Explosion Suppression in a 1 m3 Sphere Vessel. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2019, 58 (38), 18007-18019

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