Dust Explosion 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 Chilworth Technology 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 Chilworth 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

Chilworth'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. Some of the regular tests we are able to offer can be seen in the menu top right.

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

Talk to a consultant

Dr Stephen Rowe
Dr Stephen Rowe

Managing Director - Process Safety UK

stephen.rowe@dekra.com 023 8076 0722

The Chilworth Difference


  • Working to ISO9001 & OHSAS 18001 standards, and with formal GLP accreditation for our UK laboratories, you can rely on DEKRA Insight data. No other UK laboratory can offer this level of quality assurance.

Track Record

  • DEKRA Insight staff have cumulatively accrued over 375 years experience in providing tailored and quality Process Safety Data to local and global customers. We are part of the DEKRA group, a global leader in Industrial Safety.

Multiple Facilities

  • DEKRA Insight has four laboratories across three continents covering a wide range of global standards. This guarantees that larger projects can be executed in parallel to offer unrivalled turnaround times.


  • Because DEKRA Insight manufacture and service Process Safety equipment, downtime and delays are exceptional. Our number one priority is our customers‘ needs.

Unrivalled Support

  • Our global team helps you select the appropriate programme for your specific needs, with their intimate knowledge of data interpretation and application to specific plant situations. Support is available in a range of languages worldwide to local and global companies.

Capability & Versatility

  • DEKRA Insight offers the widest range of Process Safety Testing services to numerous global standards, with the ability to handle highly hazardous materials and licences for Controlled Substances. We specialise in tailoring tests to your specific needs.

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Chilworth Testing Capabilities

Chilworth Technology can provide a wide range of laboratory testing services globally. This document details the range of texts we can undertake at our facilities.

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A Guide to Handling Powders & Dusts Safely

Many people are surprised when they first hear that there can be a significant risk of fire and explosion from processing apparently innocuous materials such as icing sugar, aluminium powder and even paracetamol. Process engineers, however, have long been aware of the hazards and risks involved with processing these types of materials and the measures, procedures and training that must be in place in order to operate a safe site.

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