Cinnaminson, NJ, July 2nd, 2012 -- Earlier this year, a team of doctors and nurses from the United States traveled to Bolivia to take part in an emergency drill at a zinc mining facility. The exercise involved a simulated explosion at the plant.
Zinc is a metallic chemical element represent by the symbol Zn. It is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Zinc is used in many alloys, including brass. In fact, it is the 4th most common metal used in the modern world. In 1982, pennies produced in the United States began being made of primarily zinc, coated with copper. It has many uses, including as an anti-corrosion agent, as an alloy or compound component, and for galvanizing.
Due to zinc’s many uses in industrial applications and manufacturing there are circumstances where zinc dusts may be found in work environments. These metallic dusts from zinc are a potential combustible dust hazard. In fact, zinc powder has even been used as a propellant in model rockets.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for zinc, metal powder or dust states that it is highly flammable in the presence of open flames and sparks. It also reports that it is flammable in presence of oxidizing materials, of acids.
“Whenever a combustible dust, such as those from zinc, are processed and handled there is the potential for an explosion and fire,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading combustible dust testing laboratory. “When zinc dusts come in contact with moisture, alkaline solutions or acetic acid it can heat spontaneously to ignition. The extent of any zinc dust hazards can be determined by combustible dust testing services offered by EMSL Analytical.”
EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX0apupkO3E
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.