The unfortunate propensity of dust explosions to destroy entire facilities and claim lives has been reported in numerous past incidents. A recent illustration is the massive explosion that occurred on February 7th, 2008 at the Imperial Sugar Company in Port Wentworth (Georgia), where 14 people were killed and 36 people were injured.
Powder handling processes are often comprised of interconnected enclosures and equipment. Flame and pressure resulting from a dust explosion can therefore propagate through piping, across galleries, and reach other pieces of equipment or enclosures, leading to extensive damage.
While the ability of dust explosions to propagate has been widely recognized, some misconceptions lead to the false sense of security that explosion isolation is not required.
Inspired by Paul Amyotte’s book "An Introduction to Dust Explosions," this article will enumerate, illustrate and unravel the following common myths about explosion propagation.