DEKRA Process Safety

laboratory testing

Dust explosions are not uncommon, causing loss of life, injury, damage, loss of production, litigation and adverse publicity

Fires in layers of powder, dust explosions and the decomposition of thermally unstable powders can have dramatic and catastrophic consequences when encountered in industrial situations. If not effectively identified and adequately assessed, with the risk either prevented or controlled, these hazardous situations can lead to major loss of containment with resulting impact on the manufacturing company.

Some manufacturers are aware of the risks they face from gases and vapours but in general, industry is still slow to realise the level of risk from mishandling potentially explosible dusts & powders. Here at DEKRA we have many years of experience in identifying and handling potentially hazardous materials. We can provide specific advice on how to identify hazardous materials, assess the risk associated with those materials, determining the flammable characteristics of those materials if necessary and advise on prevention and protection measures on plant with the specific objective of avoiding fires and explosions in the workplace.

How DEKRA Can Help

We offer independent consultancy advice carrying out fire and explosion hazard and risk assessments in order to identify potentially hazardous materials and determine if these need to be experimentally characterised. If they do, our Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and ISO 9001 compliant laboratories offer nearly 300 different process safety test methods to complete these studies. In the field of potentially hazardous powders, they are equipped to measure, to internationally recognised standards, physical properties data relating to ignition sensitivity, explosion severity and powder thermal stability.


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Ignition Sensitivity

  • Particle size and moisture content
  • Minimum ignition energy (MIE)
  • Minimum ignition temperature in cloud (MIT cloud)
  • Minimum ignition temperature in layer (MIT layer)
  • Minimum explosible concentration (MEC)
  • Limiting oxygen concentration for combustion (LOC)

Explosion Severity

  • Explosion severity (Kst, Pmax), 20l and 1m3

Powder Thermal Stability

  • Specific tests for drying processes: fluid bed, spray, bulk storage
  • Critical Ignition Temperature determination using Powder basket tests
  • UN Class 4
    • Division 4.1: self-reactive substances and highly-flammable solids
    • Division 4.2: self-heating solids, pyrophoric solids and liquids
    • Division 4.3: substances evolving flammable gases when in contact with water

DEKRA's laboratories in the UK can handle most powdered materials, , even if they are toxic, highly pharmaceutically active or a controlled substance and can offer a fast turnaround service if required. Because we enter into a partnership with our clients, we strive to ensure that only essential testing is undertaken, that our reports are comprehensive and meaningful, and that specialists are on hand to provide expert advice on the interpretation of results. Our commitment to customer satisfaction means that we will work with you to tailor our testing and reporting to your specific process safety needs and within budget.

Independent Professional Advice

It doesn’t just stop with measuring a parameter or identifying a flammability characteristic of powder, it is what that data means in the context of a manufacturing process. Our Process Safety Specialists will interpret the data and provide independent consulting advice on explosion prevention and guidance on choice and design of explosion protection systems, be it relief venting, containment, suppression, use of inert gas, or isolation techniques.

Because of our unique capabilities and experience, our laboratories in the UK are not only able to undertake a wide range of tests to internationally recognised standards, but we can also undertake custom projects for testing of materials that may sit more closely with real world activities.

We are here to support all your laboratory testing needs, contact us today for a demonstration of our industry respected, GLP accredited service.