What are the types and causes of fire hazards intextile industry?Dust Related Explosion and Fire Hazards
Inflammable and Explosive Dusts
The three ingredients that cause fires are heat, oxygen and combustible material. When all threecomponents are present, combustion takes place. Many dusts and powders that emanate out of theindustrial processes are easily
. These dusts carry characteristics that differentiate themsuch as:
Since they carry an
, they do not need oxygen from theatmosphere to explode. (Eg. Chemicals that pump up automobile air bags, gunpowder)
They require little or no external heat to ignite.An
is defined as the process in which combustion occurs and spreads so rapidly as tocreate a high pressure. In this case, the fire expands from a source of ignition and develops highpressure when restricted in an area.
have lower and upper limits (of dust concentration). A lower limit of explosion indicatesthat the concentration of dust particles is below the lower limit of explosion. Below this level, the dustconcentration will not explode even on ignition. This happens because the heat produced in such acircumstance is not sufficient to affect other dust particles. Alternatively there could be a dustconcentration of explosive levels but there may not be enough oxygen to start the fire.To counter the
of fire and explosions, it is necessary to know the characteristics of the dust.For example, fine aluminum dusts explode at very low limits of explosion whereas coarse aluminiumdusts do not catch fire even under the influence of another source of heat.
By mixing gas (air) and compound (dust) in concentrations that create an explosion, combustionproceeds at high speed (sonic speed or supersonic speed) from the point of ignition. The face of thisgrowing ball of
is called ‘flame front. If there are no obstructions, this high pressure flame burnsitself out after traveling a distance. But if it restricted in any way, the pressure increasestremendously. By knowing the rate of increase of this pressure for a particular compound, the hazardthat it can cause can be known.The
has an inherent advantage with its air cleaning process that may keep dustconcentrations below the lower limit of explosion. On the other hand, shaker
aresusceptible to explosions since static charges could set off a spark while ‘shaking’ or bag filter cleaning is in process.Explosions are of two types. Primary explosions are those ignited by dust concentrations being atexplosive levels. These primary explosions could take part in one part of the system. But then theymove rapidly along the system ductwork. When the flame front reaches the dust collector it couldcause further explosions (by creating explosive dust concentration by unsettling all dust particles onthe filter bags). This would cause a secondary explosion.
To reduce the damages that could be caused by explosion, dust collectors are provided withexhausts or vents that allow the explosion to go out of the system before further damage to other parts. Common designs of explosion vents are:
A membrane that breaks at a preset pressure on the explosion vent to allow theflame front to exit from the vent in high pressure situations (explosion)