Ignition and explosion of nanopowders : something new under the dust

Abstract : This work deals with the study of ignition and explosion characteristics of nanoparticles. It has been carried out on various powders: zinc, aluminum, carbon blacks... Specific behaviours have been highlighted during the first phase of this project (Nanosafe 2). For instance, it has been demonstrated that there mainly exists two combustion regimes that are either kinetically controlled, for small size particles, or diffusion controlled, for large size particles (generally with diameters greater than 1 or 2 µm). It has been found that as the particle size decreases, minimum ignition temperature and minimum ignition energy decrease (even lower than 1 mJ), indicating higher potential inflammation and explosion risks for metallic nanopowders. Moreover, the presence of agglomerates in the nanopowders could modify their reactivity. Thus, the explosion severity of Al powders tends to increase as the specific surface area decreases, before reaching a peak for 1 µm particle size. These results are essential for industries producing or handling nanopowders in order to propose/design new and proper prevention and protection means. Nevertheless, the validity of the classical characterization tools with regard to nanopowders should be discussed. For example, the experimental laminar flame velocity of Al dusts has been compared to a theoretical one, determined by Huang's model, which assumes that the propagation of the flame is run mainly by conduction. It has shown a good agreement. However, under certain conditions, the Al flame propagation is expected to be mainly conducted by radiation. Two hypotheses can then be made. On the one hand, it can be assumed that the 20 L sphere probably disturbs the flame propagation and thermal mechanisms by absorbing radiation (wall quenching effect). On the other hand, it has been observed, thanks to the use of a high speed camera that the preheating zone is smaller for some nanopowders than for micro-particles (figure below). It could notably be explained by the fact that the flame radiation is absorbed by the cloud of unburnt Al nanopowders. Several other factors may have an impact on the explosion severity. If these points are correctly addressed, it will be possible to get more reliable ignition and explosion characteristics.
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  • HAL Id : ineris-00970700, version 1
  • INERIS : EN-2010-302

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Olivier Dufaud, Alexis Vignes, François Henry, Laurent Perrin, Jacques Bouillard. Ignition and explosion of nanopowders : something new under the dust. International Conference on Safe Production and Use of Nanomaterials (NANOSAFE 2010), Nov 2010, Grenoble, France. ⟨ineris-00970700⟩

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