Combustible Grain Dust

One of the most common problems we hear about at Dust In Case is that people don’t realize that the dust they’re working with might be highly combustible. One of the most common culprits is corn and grain dust. Silo fires can be some of the most devastating disasters that can happen to an agricultural business. By educating people about the dangers of this grain dust, the number of deaths and injuries can be greatly reduced.

One thing to keep in mind is that any organic compound will contain carbon. Since corn is organic, and reacts with oxygen giving off heat, it is flammable. Beyond that, since dust has a high surface area for the reaction to occur on, the chances of the reaction happening very fast are very good.

According to a paper written by Assistant Professor of Stored Products Engineering at Oklahoma University Carol Jones, there are four elements that contribute to a grain dust explosion:

1. Fuel
2. Oxygen
3. Confinement
4. Ignition Source

Put these four things together, say in a grain silo or in a storage bin, and you have a recipe for disaster. These elements are common in most industrial or agricultural settings in which corn or other grain is used.

By following safety precautions and not allowing this situation to come up, you will significantly reduce the chance of an explosion. The thing to take from this post is that corn and other grain dust is explosive. Take care if this affects you in your specific industry. If you’re in an industry that deals with explosive grain dust, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know how you feel about this post by sounding off in the comments section below!