Experimental study of ignition of magnesium powder by electro-static discharge

Ervin Beloni, Edward L. Dreizin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Ignition sensitivity of powders to electro-static discharge (ESD) stimulation is commonly tested to assess the safety of powder handling. However, the mechanisms of powder ignition by electric spark remain unclear. This paper represents an experimental study in which the spark parameters are quantified and the ESD ignition of a metal powder is investigated. A spherical powder of Mg, for which thermal ignition kinetics was described in the literature, was used in experiments. The experimental setup was built based on a commercially available apparatus for ESD ignition sensitivity testing. Additional diagnostics enabled measurements of electrical current, voltage, and spark and ignited powder emission in real time. The spark duration was of the order of a few 7s. The spark current and voltage were always observed to have significant AC components. The electrical impedance of the spark discharge was determined experimentally using the recorded current traces and assuming that the spark could be represented as a series LRC circuit. The optical emission was filtered to separate the signals produced by the spark plasma and by the heated and igniting powder. The radiation signal produced by the igniting powder was always delayed after the spark. The delay time decreased from about 3.5 to 0.5 ms as the spark energy increased from 10 to 60 mJ; the delay remained nearly constant when the spark energy continued to increase to over 100 mJ. For experiments where the powder volume decreased or where binder was introduced delay times were reduced, particularly above 60 mJ the delay time went down to 0 ms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIChE100 - 2008 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 AIChE Annual Meeting, AIChE 100 - Philadelphia, PA, United States
Duration: Nov 16 2008Nov 21 2008

Publication series

NameAIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings


Other2008 AIChE Annual Meeting, AIChE 100
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia, PA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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