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Author Topic: Exploding Sawdust  (Read 9345 times)

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Offline etat

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Exploding Sawdust
« on: January 19, 2004, 09:09:24 PM »
One time I  was helping my uncle sand a hardwood floor.  He had a great big belt type floor sander.  We were stripping the floor, I'm not sure if it had shellac, or varnish on it.  After a while the dust bag started filling up and he asked me to empty it.  I took it out back.  It was cold weather and earlier we had built a small trash fire.   The wind was slightly blowing.  About the time I started dusting that bag out on the fire it exploded.  Like pouring gasoline on a fire.   Or vodka, but that's another story. Burnt most of the hair on my beard, mustache, and eyebrows.  And the hair on my arms.  Luckily I was falling back so quick I didn't get seriously burnt.  He got mad about the bag I burnt up.  Told me I shoulda known better.  After that I did.
Old Age and Treachery will outperform Youth and Inexperence. The thing is, getting older is starting to be painful.

Offline Corley5

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2004, 09:34:36 PM »
I had something similar happen.  When I was nearing completion of my house I swept up a bunch of sawdust and shavings from the table saw, skilsaw, jointer, etc. and put them in a plastic garbage like you'd find in your kitchen and took it out back where I was burning scraps.  I tipped the can up over the fire and whoa!!! :o :o.  The flash fire/explosion ripped the can out of my hands and it actually flew up into the air a bit.  Didn't burn me but scared me a bit and I ya I probably new better too but ::)
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2004, 07:19:50 AM »
   OK, this is a major safety thing. Who else has any information? The first poster made it sound like there was something new or old on the sawduat acting as an accelerant. The second makes me not so sure- as if finely divided sawdust suspended in air is enough of a setup for a blowup of the type you describe.

  If the situation was properly controlled, this might actually be a useful way to enhance combustion or increase energy gained. I can see it now- the car that runs on carbureted sawdust..  :D :D  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2004, 08:08:53 AM »
This really is old tech, this exploding sawdust.  We just tend to forget about how it reacts.  Grain storage elevators have to watch and control dust to avoid explosions.  Coal fired power plants use finely powdered coal blown into the combustion chamber with the air needed to combust.  Shucks, Otto Diesel made his first engine to run on powdered coal.
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2004, 08:19:04 AM »
   I'd heard about the grain dust as a hazard, but I missed the early techno on powdered solid fuels.

  I would assume they abandoned that because it is easier to spray a liquid fuel than the solid. Also I'm guessing that engines were big things- and the coal fired plants natch are big..but..so..what I've heard of sawdust as a fuel is mostly forming it into little blox. Do you know if anyone has looked into a useful app of the explosive tendency of the dust?

  Also any webrefs on either Otto, or the coal plants, would be cool. I'll also try to find something meself. Thanks for writing back..  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2004, 09:24:51 AM »
Whoops, wrong Diesel.  Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine.  I'm sure that Otto did something too.  :-/  I'm having trouble finding the references online to his using coal dust, just that one of his early engines blew up and nearly killed him.  I think that one was fueled with the coal dust.

I've found several references to his work online, but sprechen Sie Deutsch?  ??? ???  Here's one that is in English.  http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.dieselpage.com/tipshis.htm
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2004, 09:30:05 AM »
Here's a nice animation of how a coal fired power plant works.

http://www.eskom.co.za/story/coalpower.html
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2004, 08:11:17 PM »
Quote
Whoops, wrong Diesel.  Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine.  I'm sure that Otto did something too.  :-/  I'm having trouble finding the references online to his using coal dust, just that one of his early engines blew up and nearly killed him.  I think that one was fueled with the coal dust.

I've found several references to his work online, but sprechen Sie Deutsch?  ??? ???  Here's one that is in English.  http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.dieselpage.com/tipshis.htm


  I do a bit of German- technical German is a mite harder for me. The vocab is much more specialized, and it's not like in the Czech, where the techno is the only part I can make out because it's all anglicized- like 'mathematicky' and terms like that.  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2004, 08:17:57 PM »
   Very cool websites- thank you.

  Lots of those coal fired plants in WV- the one in St. Mary's was fun to drive by because you could see into the base of the nearer of the 2 colling towers to where the hot water was being sprayed out to be cooled. The plant sucked water out of the Ohio for the initial boiling phase but had to cool it before any discharge (or more likely re-use)- they wouldn't want to cook the fish in the river (those fish had enough things worng with them).

  The 'bump' of rising air over the towers was also fun to fly through- like an invisible frost heave.  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Corley5

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2004, 08:14:03 AM »
The dust and chips that I speak were pure wood.  They were extremely dry as they came from dry lumber and had been dried even more from the wood heat in the house.  Add flame or a spark to a really dry combustible and it will ;D
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2004, 02:18:59 PM »
   My husband had also experienced the same type of reaction- said it was with *really fine* sawdust.

  Honestly, guys, you're getting to me. I feel an experiment coming on..lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2004, 05:28:49 PM »
L. Wakefield,
Wear your safety goggles, hair covering and less flamable clothes.  Before Nomex was invented, wildland firefighting was done in cotton or wool, I think.  These clothes are not as easy to catch on fire as polyester or nylon.  Be careful!
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2004, 07:23:44 PM »
   heh heh heh- I've got a full set of turnout gear... used to be on the fd, now am chief of rescue but still use turnout gear on 10-55s.

  What we did with the gunpowder experiments was to work up from a ridiculous margin of safety. First one goes pifft. Second one goes pop. Third one goes boom. And everyone is smiling at a safe distance and if you're on the back 40 the neighbors don't mind.

  I wish I'd been there when Colonel wotsisname did the original gunpowder research- you know, when they developed the various progressive burning powders.. I borrowed a book on it one time and he must have loved doing the work. It sounds like they did make a few mistakes from time to time.
 
  'Dust in the wind'- an updraft would be safest, but it sounds like most of the inadvertant experiments have been on the order of dumping the sawdust out over an already cooking fire.
I value my a** a bit too much to go overboard on volume first time on that one.

  Oh, it's got me smiling remembering the first time one of the kids took apart one of those morning glories to try to figure out how it does what it does. They were really good boys that I actually knew what they were doing and didn't find out later by the cops coming or fingers being blown off.  
 
  I'm trying to picture the heat, air, and particulates. 'Just a pinch' and work up from there. Granny's kitchen.  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2004, 07:33:30 PM »
Good!  Put on that turnout gear and pull down the face shield on the helmet.  Might not be needed when you start out with the small quantities, but some of these experiments have a "critical mass" when things can go so wrong.
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2004, 07:35:42 PM »
Bald people with one eyebrow look soooo funny.  :o :D :'(
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline etat

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2004, 08:35:32 PM »
I actually wouldn't have thought anybody would want to try to duplicate this on purpose!  I was thinking more along the line, be carefull putting sawdust on a fire!  
Old Age and Treachery will outperform Youth and Inexperence. The thing is, getting older is starting to be painful.

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2004, 05:05:03 AM »
   Dunno that I want to duplicate the full 9yd outtacontrol takeyoureyebrowsoff boom thing- but- it's just teasing me. I want to know how it works and if it's got any use. I don't want to involve the wood stove or the interior of the house- sigh- time to think about a burn permit and a bonfire.

  Does the sawdust need to be dry? I would certainly think so- and then I'm willing to bet there will be a quantitative difference between hardwood, softwood, and type of sap. Particle size has got to be an important variable.

  I have a lot more experience with volatized sap. Conifers in full summer when it's very dry can put off enoughflammable vapors that a fire can result in them exploding and a really bad crown fire. I don't want to get too up close and personal with that but it's fun with Christmas tree branches. You can see how it was only a short hop from that to my steaming the Christmas tree to get the oil.  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Tom

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White dynamite!
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2004, 07:15:00 AM »
White dynamite is what the furnace tenders at the pulp mill called it.  They accumulated sawdust from the wood shop and stored it next to the boiler room for when they needed hot fire 'right now'.  Then they would throw a shovel full of sawdust into the air stream of the furnace and there would be instant heat.  Enough of it to back them up a step or two and enough to raise the temperature of the boiler to keep the plant running. :)  Put enough air around a sawdust particle and it just flashes.
extinct

Offline Corley5

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2004, 08:39:51 AM »
My exploding sawdust was mostly hardwood- sugar maple, black cherry, ash with a little red pine thrown in.  The big factor in making it explosive is the dryness.
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Exploding Sawdust
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2004, 09:18:54 AM »

Hi LW
Here is a link to a discussion bout the same topic(in this case the danger of explosive dust and its power)
I think the sawdust vortex furnaces might interest you to ....amazing though one sack of flour can do so much incredible rearanging of nearby matter!


Quote
Dave ,m it is a fact that dust is ,"ALL SURFACE AREA" any dust is extremely explosive, does that mean you will definitely have an explosion of course not does it mean it is a possibility YES...

a half a sack of flour ,air born with an ignition source could easily level ranch home....
ever see the results of a flour mill explosion.....on the news?
It takes 3 things for combustion/explosion.... dust in the air ignition source and air...
hook up that blower!
Don

    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!


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