Iarossi, I and Amyotte, PR and Khan, FI and Marmo, L and Dastidar, AG and Eckhoff, RK, Explosibility of polyamide and polyester fibers, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 26, (6) pp. 1627-1633. ISSN 0950-4230 (2013) [Refereed Article]
The current research is aimed at investigating the explosion behavior of hazardous materials in relation to aspects of particulate size. The materials of study are flocculent (fibrous) polyamide 6.6 (nylon) and polyester (polyethylene terephthalate). These materials may be termed nontraditional dusts due to their cylindrical shape which necessitates consideration of both particle diameter and length. The experimental work undertaken is divided into two main parts. The first deals with the determination of deflagration parameters for polyamide 6.6 (dtex 3.3) for different lengths: 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.75 mm, 0.9 mm and 1 mm; the second involves a study of the deflagration behavior of polyester and polyamide 6.6 samples, each having a length of 0.5 mm and two different values of dtex, namely 1.7 and 3.3. (Dtex or decitex is a unit of measure for the linear density of fibers. It is equivalent to the mass in grams per 10,000 m of a single filament, and can be converted to a particle diameter.) The explosibility parameters investigated for both flocculent materials include maximum explosion pressure (Pmax), size-normalized maximum rate of pressure rise (KSt), minimum explosible concentration (MEC), minimum ignition energy (MIE) and minimum ignition temperature (MIT). ASTM protocols were followed using standard dust explosibility test equipment (Siwek 20-L explosion chamber, MIKE 3 apparatus and BAM oven). Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were undertaken as indicated by the following examples. Qualitative observation of the post-explosion residue for polyamide 6.6 indicated a complex interwoven structure, whereas the polyester residue showed a shiny, melt-type appearance. Quantitatively, the highest values of Pmax and KSt were obtained at the shortest length and finest dtex for a given material. For a given length, polyester displayed a greater difference in Pmax and KSt at different values of dtex than polyamide 6.6. Long ignition delay times were observed in the BAM oven (MIT measurements) for polyester, and video framing of explosions in the MIKE 3 apparatus (MIE measurements) enabled observation of secondary ignitions caused by flame propagation after the initial ignition occurring at the spark electrodes.