Fertilizer Dust Collection
From Farms to Flare Ups: The Risks with Fertilizer Dust
The development of nitrate-based fertilizer has been considered by some as the most significant agricultural advancement of the 20th century. The unique properties of this type of fertilizer creates a dual-release of nutrients for the plant. However, the base material, Nitrate, is also used in the manufacture of explosives—a fact that should not be overlooked when dealing with fertilizer dust collection.
Many kinds of dust pose ignition risks, but particulates that come from a volatile substrate, as in the case of fertilizer, are especially dangerous. Dust particulates have a large surface area, creating great potential to react to oxidation or flashing. And the finer the particulates, the more readily they react to the environment, which can lead to a rapid expansion of the gases that surround the particulates. This expansion can ultimately create what is called a flame front—the zone where the chemical reaction of oxidation achieves ignition—and explode.
Stopping the flame front before it can occur requires serious air quality control measures. With fertilizer dust, however, the need for a static-reducing dust-collection system becomes a primary concern. Reducing the dust in a static-free environment not only eliminates the potential for dust combustion, but it creates a healthier environment for workers.