Possible ignition sources – Mechanically generated impact, friction and abrasion

As a result of friction, impact or abrasion processes such as grinding, particles can become separated from solid materials and become hot owing to the energy used in the separation process. If these particles consist of oxidizable substances, for example iron or steel, they can undergo an oxidation process, thus reaching even higher temperatures. These particles (sparks) can ignite flammable gases and certain dust/air-mixtures (especially metal dust/air mixtures). In deposited dust, smouldering can be caused by the sparks and this can be an ignition source for an explosive atmosphere.

The ingress of foreign materials to equipment, protective systems and components, e.g. stones or tramp metals, as a cause of sparking shall be considered.

Rubbing friction, even between similar ferrous metals and between certain ceramics, can generate hot spots and sparks similar to grinding sparks. These can cause ignition of explosive atmospheres.

When stainless steel is involved in impact, friction or grinding it will easily produce hot surfaces which may become an effective ignition source. Applying high contact pressure in case of friction or grinding a burst of sparks will be created additionally.

Impacts involving rust and light metals (e.g. aluminium and magnesium) and their alloys can initiate a thermite reaction which can cause ignition of explosive atmospheres.

The light metals titanium and zirconium can also form incendive sparks under impact or friction against any sufficiently hard material, even in the absence of rust.

All above mechanical – so called non.electrical – explosion protection shall be with high importance.

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