Effect of moisture content and particle size on the explosive properties of sulfur dusts
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Sulfur is obtained as a by-product of all oil and gas production, when the resources are sour and contain toxic hydrogen sulfide that has to be removed and converted. This is the case all over the world as well in Qatar, both, at the Ras Laffan and Mesaieed Industrial Cities. Although sulfur is a by-product, it is also needed and used in fertilizer production, metal industry processing, chemical manufacturing, vulcanization of rubber, gunpowder production, treatment of skin disease, manufacturing of sulfur dioxide as bleaching agent, paper manufacturing as an agent and food production as preservative (sodium bisulfite). Sulfur is produced in its liquid form liquid form and then dried and granulated or pilled for easy storage and transportation. Although this process is much safer than the storage and transportation of liquid sulfur, the production of solid sulfur poses specific hazards associated to sulfur dust formed during the process that has the potential to create explosions. Therefore, the risks associated to sulfur production has to be evaluated to ensure safe and sustainable operation. A good quality risk assessment cannot be done without reliable consequence modeling validated against good quality experimental data. Unfortunately, neither the development consequence models nor the generation of experimental data for dust explosion have received much attention from researchers. This project will investigate the effect of moisture (water) content of the sulfur dust on the Minimum Explosive Concentration (MEC) and the semi-quantitative level of generated explosion pressure as the function of the dust particle size for given ignition energy. The objective of the UREP project is to perform experiments with local Qatar sulfur dust samples and measure how a water content of this dust affects the explosibility characteristics of sulfur dust. The activity will include the analysis of the dust particles size and analysis of the water content in the dust. Then, the dust will be tested in Hartman Tube with the given ignition energy, and the quantitative level of generated pressure from the explosion will be measured. The experiments will be conducted in our lab at the Mary Kay Oâ Connor Process Safety Center â Qatar. The Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC) for given dust particle size and water content in the dust will be evaluated and analyzed. All these tests will directly contribute to better and optimal process design, and prevention and protection measures against sulfur dust explosion, including water inerting and aggregation. General recommendation for sulfur production, storage and transportation will be given as the result of this work.