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Testing Methods for Electrical Apparatus installed in a dusty Environment with a potential Risk of Explosion


The objective of this project is to study dust clouds and layers and define practical test methods for the ignition capability of specific electrical apparatus in these environments. A series of tests will be performed and following an analysis of the results, a proposal for reproducible test methods will be drafted. Any laboratory in Europe dealing with these matters should be able to perform these tests and produce reliable and reproducible test data.

State of progress
The kick-off meeting between participants has been held and test-houses have been contacted for information on test methods currently in use. Literature surveys have been started and preliminary ideas on the design of tests discussed.

European standards that support the directive 94/9/EC - the ATEX directive - need to cover the potential risk of explosion or fire of clouds and layers of explosible dusts. CENELEC TC31 requires practical test methods for electrical equipment installed in environments where clouds and/or layers of combustibles are present.
The application of intrinsically safe "break-flash" testing to dust clouds is not established, and there is no standard test for either low voltage or high voltage circuits. Neither are tests available for situations where thick dust layers or deposits may accumulate and present an ignition risk.
This project will address these important gaps in knowledge, and lead to the development of accepted test methods.
Current test methods for ignition by hot surfaces and electrical sparks of dust clouds, layers and accumulations will be identified, with consultation with at least three major manufacturers and users of equipment.
The test conditions will be compared with conditions likely to be met in practice, and the characteristics of test designs and methodologies agreed.
Proto-type equipment and test methodologies will be constructed and developed, and a series of round-robin tests performed by the project partners. Following a workshop to discuss the test methods, draft procedures suitable for inclusion in European Standards will be prepared.


Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Broad Lane
S3 7HQ Sheffield
United Kingdom

Participants (2)

Deutsche Montan Technologie GmbH
Beylingstrasse 65
44329 Dortmund - Derne
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
C/alenza 2
28003 Madrid