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Prevent Explosions During Transfer Of Powders Into Flammable Solvents

By Martin Glor, Swiss Institute for the Promotion of Safety & Security |

Click here for full pdf version of this article – includes all graphs, charts, tables, and author information   Explosion prevention must be a primary objective wherever the process of transferring powders into flammable solvents is utilized, irrelevant of the industry and existing practices, in accordance with regulatory guidelines such as the ATEX directives (Directive 94/9/EC, 1994 and Directive 1999/92/EC, 1999), which prevail in Europe. The addition of powders such as catalysts, pigments and other reactants into a reactor, hopper or large container is an extremely common operation within the chemical process industries (CPI). Frequently, the vessel into which the powder is being added will already be charged with flammable solvents in large amounts, or contain residual levels from previous use or intermediate cleansing procedures. The presence of flammable solvents may create an explosive vapor atmosphere both within the vessel and in the immediate environment, depending on the flashpoint of the solvent, the temperature of the liquid and the ambient temperature outside the container. Equally significant are the nature of the powder and the act of transferring it. Whatever the combustibility of the powder, the combination…
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