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Explosion tests for DSEAR

By testing the particles of the material being processed, we can better determine suitable protection measures against explosions. Often, dust testing is the first stage when it comes to ensuring your site is fully protected and ATEX/DSEAR compliant.

The dusts will have different explosive properties that contribute to the hazardous nature of the material. These might be self-heating (leading to spontaneous combustion), rapid spread of fire, high ST classification (strong or very strong explosion class), sensitivity to electrostatic spark ignition or low ignition temperature.

The certified laboratory undertakes dust testing work for a wide range of companies and industries, such as pharmaceutical and chemical products, coal dust, grain dust, foods products such as flour and sugar, wood products produced by the particle board industry, sawdust, metal dusts and increasingly biomass fuels and dried waste from the water treatment industry.

Dust Testing Laboratory

We are a UK based company offering a full range of dust testing to determine the hazardous properties of particulates. For those materials where the explosive nature of the dust is in doubt, our classification test to EN ISO/IEC 80079-20-2 exposes the material to 4 different ignition sources to determine flammability; 10KV electric spark ignition, hot coil ignition, high temperature ignition at 1000 degrees Centigrade and using electrically operated chemical igniters in a pressure vessel. The classification test is the essential first step in explosibility testing.Our experienced laboratory staff can advise on which tests are required to ensure your company complies with ATEX or DSEAR.

EN, UN & ASTM Testing Standards

The majority of our dust explosion tests and dust ignition tests are carried out to UK, European and ISO international standards. However, some tests are available to US (ASTM) standards – please contact us for further details.By better understanding the explosion hazard and nature of the combustible dust, suitable preventative and protective measures can be employed to mitigate the risk – see our guide to DSEAR for further details.

Benefits of Dust Testing


Safety, the cornerstone of any successful business operation, is significantly enhanced through thorough dust testing. By identifying the explosive properties of the dust particles in your environment, such as minimum ignition temperature or energy sensitivity you’re equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge to enforce preventive measures, effectively reducing the risk of accidents. This proactive approach not only safeguards human lives but also prevents catastrophic damage to infrastructure and equipment.

Moreover, the financial implications of dust testing are noteworthy. Yes, it is an upfront investment; however, the potential long-term cost savings are substantial. Imagine the financial repercussions of an industrial accident – the damage to equipment, the downtime, not to mention potential legal liabilities and fines for regulatory non-compliance. By investing in dust testing, you’re not just buying peace of mind; you’re making a wise business decision.

In essence, dust testing is not just about compliance with regulations; it’s about fostering a culture of safety and efficiency. Your employees, stakeholders, and bottom line will thank you for it.

dust testing for dsear
Dust test

What are the standards and regulations relating to dust testing, ATEX and DSEAR?

When maintaining safety in workplaces with explosive atmospheres, two significant guidances come into play – ATEX and DSEAR. These are crucial lifelines that can mean the difference between a safe, productive work environment and a potentially disastrous one.

ATEX – this term hails from the French “ATmosphères EXplosives”. It comprises two European directives that are of paramount importance for industries operating in explosive atmospheres. The first, Directive 99/92/EC (ATEX 137), focuses on the safety of workers and sets the minimum requirements for health and safety protection. The second, Directive 2014/34/EU (ATEX 95), governs the equipment and protective systems designed for use in such volatile atmospheres.

dsear dust test notice

You’re in an industry dealing with flammable gases or dust. A slight oversight could lead to catastrophic consequences. ATEX regulations act as a safeguard, ensuring that the equipment you use and the protective measures you have in place are sufficient to prevent such incidents.

In the UK, the DSEAR, or the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, is how ATEX is enforced. It implements the same directives as ATEX but integrates elements from the Chemicals Agents and the Carcinogens or Mutagens Directives. DSEAR’s mandate is clear – employers must control safety risks stemming from fires, explosions, and substances that are corrosive to metals.

So how can Dust Testing comply and navigate these complex regulations? Our services play a key role in ensuring compliance with both ATEX and DSEAR. We delve into the explosive properties of the dust in your workplace. Dust testing is the first step to understanding the risk and provides useful parameters in mitigating that risk. Through meticulous testing, we can identify key characteristics like the minimum ignition energy or temperature. Armed with this knowledge, you can implement control measures that are tailor-made for your unique environment.

In summary, dust testing is your map to regulatory compliance and workplace safety.

What tests do I need?

If the flammability of the dust / powder is unknown, start with a classification test. If the powder is classified as combustible, then consider the following tests based upon potential ignition sources etc:

How could dust be ignited in the process?
Hot surfaceLIT for dust layers
MIT for dust clouds
Specify equipment surface temperature limits including a safety margin
Electrostatic sparkMIEInfluences the choice of plant materials (conductors / non conductors) earth bonding and personnel antistatic precautions
Self heatingScreening testSpecifies maximum storage size and configuration storage temperature and storage time
What is the best way to avoid an explosive atmosphere?
Dust controlLELPlant should be operated with low level of dust present e.g. use dust­ suppressed materials
Oxygen controlLOCPlant should be operated under an inert gas e.g. nitrogen. An operational safety
margin is required, based upon the inert
gas control system and plant layout
How can the plant be made safe?
Explosion ventingExplosion indices
Kst and Pmax
Verify vent design is adequate for the
materials being handled
Explosion suppressionExplosion indices
Kst and Pmax
Verify suppression design is adequate for the materials being handled
Explosion containmentExplosion indices
Kst and Pmax
Verify explosion containment and
explosion isolation design is adequate for the materials being handled
The following data should be regarded as essential, safety critical information:
Classification testwhere the flammability of the dust is not known
LOC where inerting is the basis of safety
Explosion indices (Pmax & Kst)where explosion protection is the basis of safety - i.e. explosion venting, explosion suppression or explosion containment
MITfor all plant where a dust cloud may come into contact with a high temperature surface, such as a dryer
LITfor all plant where dust may accumulate on any surface that may get hot through electrical or mechanical energy such as an electrical motor or gearbox
MIE for all plant, particularly where electrostatic ignition is possible
Self-heating screening testfor any material that is suspected of being capable of self-heating.

FAQ On Dust Testing

Dust explosion testing involves determining the hazardous properties of particulate materials. This helps to understand the risk of dust explosions in various industries and implement appropriate protection measures. The tests often use four different ignition sources to assess the flammability of the dust​.

Many industries require dust explosion testing, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, coal, grain, food (like flour and sugar), wood products, metal dusts, biomass fuels, and the water treatment industry, to name only a few.

There are several types of dust explosion tests, including Hazard Classification Tests, Explosion Indices Tests (Kst value and Pmax), Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) Tests, and Minimum Ignition Temperature (MIT) Tests.

A Hazard Classification Test is a qualitative assessment to determine if a suspended dust cloud can initiate and sustain an explosion when exposed to different ignition sources. The outcomes classify the material as either Group A (hazardous) or Group B (non-hazardous)​.

The Explosion Indices Test measures the severity of a dust explosion. This test calculates the Kst value and Pmax, which represent the maximum explosion pressure and the maximum rate of pressure rise, respectively. These tests are carried out in a controlled environment that simulates process plant conditions​.

The MIE Test measures the ease of ignition of a dust cloud by electrical and electrostatic discharges. The test result indicates how sensitive an explosive dust cloud is to electrical spark ignition, providing guidance on the likelihood of ignition from electrostatic discharge in practice.

The MIT Test determines the lowest temperature of a hot surface that will cause a dust cloud, rather than a dust layer, to ignite and propagate flame.

Dust explosion testing is crucial for understanding the explosive properties of dust from various materials. By testing these particles, we can better determine suitable protection measures against explosions, ensuring that your site is fully protected and compliant with safety regulations like ATEX and DSEAR.

Dust explosion tests are performed in a certified laboratory under controlled conditions. For example, in an Explosion Indices Test, a specific quantity of combustible dust is placed into a chamber, and an automated sequence is initiated to pressurise the chamber and ignite the dust​.

Most dust explosion tests are carried out to UK, European, and ISO international standards. Some tests are also available to US (ASTM) standards. These standards ensure that the testing procedures are reliable and the results are accurate.


We are waiting to discuss your explosion safety requirements, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether you would like to receive a quotation or you are just looking for more information on dust testing, we are here to help.




0208 243 8914