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A Critique of the Dust Explosibility Index: An Alternative for Estimating Explosion Probabilities
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    This Bureau of Mines report proposes a new methodology for estimating industrial dust explosion hazards in terms of three probabilities or co-factors: The dispersion of the dust, the existence of a flammable dust concentration, and the presence of an effective source of ignition. This method or rationale is proposed as a replacement for the "explosibility index" that was first suggested 25 yr ago, but which, by consen-sus among leading researchers in the field, is now outdated. This report presents a detailed critique of the deficiencies of that old, material-oriented index, and develops the logical rationale for its re-placement by an approach that is better suited for quantitative hazard evaluations. A variety of such evaluations are illustrated, which show how a quantitative prediction of explosion frequencies can be obtained from laboratory measurements and operating conditions in a given indus-trial facility. The method has some pitfalls, particularly as they re-late to the correlation of events or their randomness. These are discussed, as well as the method's other limitations and uncertainties. This work is intended to provide a beginning to a quantitative approach to explosion hazard assessment. To that end, a new method is proposed for estimating thermal ignition probabilities in terms of the measured laboratory autoignition temperature of a dust, its relationship to the operating temperature, and its distribution within a given industrial system.

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