Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Gas and Vapor

Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Thermal Stability

Safe storage or processing requires an understanding of the possible hazards associated with sensitivity to variations in temperature

Adiabatic Calorimetry
Data demonstrate the consequences of process upsets, such as failed equipment or improper procedures, and guide mitigation strategies including Emergency Relief System (ERS) design
Reaction Calorimetry
Data yield heat and gas removal requirements to control the desired process chemistry
Battery Safety

Testing to support safe design of batteries and electrical power backup facilities particularly to satisfy UL9540a ed.4

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Cable Testing
Evaluate electrical cables to demonstrate reliability and identify defects or degradation
Equipment Qualification (EQ)
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Water Hammer
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent unwanted hydraulic pressure transients in process piping
Acoustic Vibration
Identify and eliminate potential sources of unwanted vibration in piping and structural systems
Gas & Air Intrusion
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent intrusion of gas or air in piping systems
ISO/IEC 17025:2017

Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the field of Testing

ISO 9001:2015
Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO 9001:2015
Dust Hazards Analysis
Evaluate your process to identify combustible dust hazards and perform dust explosion testing
On-Site Risk Management
On-site safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up
DIERS Methodology
Design emergency pressure relief systems to mitigate the consequences of unwanted chemical reactivity and account for two-phase flow using the right tools and methods
Deflagrations (Dust/Vapor/Gas)

Properly size pressure relief vents to protect your processes from dust, vapor, and gas explosions

Effluent Handling

Pressure relief sizing is just the first step and it is critical to safely handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

FATE™ & Facility Modeling

FATE (Facility Flow, Aerosol, Thermal, and Explosion) is a flexible, fast-running code developed and maintained by Fauske and Associates under an ASME NQA-1 compliant QA program.

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical
Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid, flow, and electric power systems
Hydrogen Safety
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Thermal Hydraulics
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Nuclear Safety
Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant
Radioactive Waste
Safety analysis to underpin decomissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials
Adiabatic Safety Calorimeters (ARSST and VSP2)

Low thermal inertial adiabatic calorimeters specially designed to provide directly scalable data that are critical to safe process design

Other Lab Equipment and Parts for the DSC/ARC/ARSST/VSP2 Calorimeters

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory


Software for emergency relief system design to ensure safe processing of reactive chemicals, including consideration of two-phase flow and runaway chemical reactions


Facility modeling software mechanistically tracks transport of heat, gasses, vapors, and aerosols for safety analysis of multi-room facilities


Our highly experienced team keeps you up-to-date on the latest process safety developments.

Process Safety Newsletter

Stay informed with our quarterly Process Safety Newsletters sharing topical articles and practical advice.


With over 40 years of industry expertise, we have a wealth of process safety knowledge to share.

Recent Posts

Characterizing Combustible Dusts for Explosion Prevention: Influence of Ignition Source and Particle Size

Posted by Fauske & Associates on 11.09.23

Dust_Pentagon-1Dust is found somewhere in almost every process, and yet very few understand how dangerous it can be! A study conducted by Powder Bulk & Solids showed that between 2016 and 2020 there were an average of 31.8 dust explosions per year. Many factors influence the combustibility of dust such as particle size and moisture content, and it is also highly situational with factors such as confinement and dispersion impacting the likelihood for a dust to explode. It may be surprising how many types of dust can be explosive if the right conditions are met: these include wood, metals, food products, and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. With dust explosions still occurring every year, it is important to properly characterize dust to prevent dust explosions from happening.

MIE_22In order for a dust explosion to occur, 5 things are required: fuel, ignition source, oxidant, dispersion and confinement (see explosion pentagon, Figure 1). This differs from a fire since there are only 3 things needed in that case: fuel, ignition source, and oxidant (i.e., the fire triangle). A fire starts when a flammable material is ignited with the presence of oxygen. Now, if that flammable material is lofted (dispersed) into a dust cloud and ignited, the flame will propagate throughout the cloud while the oxygen keeps the fire burning (see Figure 2). Within a confined space, the pressurized gas from the ignition will exert itself leading to an explosion.

There are many ways to characterize the combustibility of dust, and they typically revolve around studying the sensitivity of the dust to the five categories on the explosion pentagon. Some dust clouds are more sensitive than others where even low energy levels, such as static shock, can ignite the material. One way to determine a material’s sensitivity to ignition is by performing a Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) test. The purpose of this test is to identify how much energy is needed to ignite a given material. During this test, the equipment disperses the dust to create a dust cloud, while simultaneously discharging an electrical spark through that cloud. The spark can range from 1 mJ to 1000 mJ allowing it to represent various types of ignition sources. Depending on the findings, protective measures such as grounding and bonding can be implemented to decrease the risk of explosion. Some common explosible dusts are shown in Table 1. The MIE for corn flower or aluminum is approximately 37 mJ while the values for niacin, irganox 1010, and anthraquinone are much lower and are between 1 and 3 mJ. From a hazard perspective, the material with the lowest MIE should be considered when designing equipment or developing procedures because these have the highest likelihood of an unwanted explosion. The lower the MIE, the greater the risk.

Screenshot 2023-11-01 at 4.18.12 PM

Dusts can be harder to characterize than vapors and gases since they have additional properties that can influence their sensitivity to ignition. This can be due to the composition, moisture level, particle size, and morphology of the material. Most regulatory bodies define a dust as being a powder that has a particle size no larger than 500 μm. Typically, a dust’s sensitivity to spark ignition decreases as the particle size increases. Wood and sugar dusts are perfect examples of this trend. Table 2 shows how the MIE value of two products differs as the particle size changes.

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The various material properties of dust and potential environmental factors should be considered when assessing the risk of a combustible dust. Minimum ignition energy and impact of particle size are two examples. Unsure if the material in your process is a dust hazard?  Let us help identify the proper scope of testing and/or if a Dust Hazards Analysis (DHA) is needed at your facility. For more information, please contact our Combustible Dust team at or click the button below.

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Topics: Combustible Dust


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