NSC expo
Subscribe or Register
View Cart  

Earn recertification points from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals by taking a quiz about this issue.

What's Your Opinion?

During your career as a safety professional, has a worker death ever occurred at your site?

Take the poll and add your comment.

Vote Results

Does your CEO 'Get it?'

Tell us why on the submission form and your CEO could appear among the 2016 selections.

Dust from processing nanomaterials may be highly explosive, study says

February 15, 2012

  • / Print
  • Reprints
  • Text Size:
    A A

Washington – The dust resulting from processing nanomaterials may be much more explosive than combustible dust created by processing conventional materials, according to a study published online in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, a journal from the American Chemical Society.

The energy needed to ignite metal nanomaterials is about 1/30th the energy needed to ignite sugar dust, which was the cause of the 2008 Imperial Sugar disaster in Georgia that killed 14 workers, according to an ACS press release. Researchers warned that explosion hazards exist in several areas during the processing and handling of nanomaterials, including from friction, grinding, drilling, sanding and cleaning.

The study also examined the explosiveness of two other risks:

  • Flocculent materials – which are non-spherical with a fibrous appearance – have a significant risk of ignition from high-voltage discharges found during the electrostatic flocking process in manufacturing
  • The addition of flammable gas to dust creates a mixture that increases the severity of the explosion

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy.