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Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) Testing | Combustible Dust & Powders

Our UK laboratory generates flammable & explosive MIE test data for your combustible dust and powders. This test determines the minimum ignition energy of a dust cloud in the air by using electrical spark ignition.

The Minimum Ignition Energy test will aid in characterising, preventing, protecting and mitigating combustible dust explosions and fire hazards.

The Sigma-HSE Advantage

Sigma-HSE is your single solution provider for a full range of combustible dust & powder flammability testing.

Our dedicated team of experts are committed to helping you ensure that your dusts and/or powders will not generate a combustible dust explosion so you can maintain workplace safety and comply with the regulators.

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Frequently asked questions

BS EN ISO IEC 80079-20-2 / ASTM E2019 / BS EN 13821 (withdrawn)

The Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) test is conducted to determine the lowest spark energy that can ignite a powder when dispersed in the air as a dust cloud. A purely capacitive generated spark is used to assess the energy range of electrical and electrostatic discharges (brush, spark, transitional/propagating brush discharges).

An inductively generated spark is selected for mechanical (friction, impact and grinding, mechanical sparks) or electrical spark incendivity analysis.

Working through a range of dust powder concentrations, potentially combustible dust is dispersed into compressed air past a 1.2L litre glass vessel using dry compressed air.

These momentarily suspended, dust cloud particles/clouds are then exposed to sparks of known energy for a selected duration. Energy is then lowered, while dust powder concentration and time delay are varied until the minimum ignition energy is established.

Minimum ignition energy data is typically used to define the minimum spark energy needed to ignite a cloud of combustible dust samples or process material in the working environment. MIE is one of three core tests where ‘Avoidance of Ignition Sources’ is the ‘basis of safety’ for an operation.

This approach tests combustible dust samples or powders to determine how sensitive they are to ignition sources such as electrostatic discharge, mechanical & electrical sparks and even a hot work surface area.

The basis and test method of safety is often used when charging vessels from sacks, IBCs or FIBCs, pneumatic conveying, milling and tabletting operations.

Combustible dust that can create a flammable atmosphere is found to be insensitive to ignition. Therefore, it is easy, practical and cost-effective to have test apparatus ensure that an ignition source capable of initiating a dust explosion is not present.

A sub-group of ‘Avoidance of Ignition Sources’ are the electrostatic properties of products and materials used in process environments.

This includes the electrostatic properties of materials being processed, electrostatic properties of containers and/or Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). This is particularly important in process conditions where the process equipment or materials are found to be very sensitive to an ignition source.

How to get your combustible dust & powders tested

Receive quick and accurate MIE testing data in just a few simple steps

Contact us

Get in touch with one of our experts so we can learn more about your specific process, unit operations and combustible dust testing requirements. We'll then generate and send you a customised quote.

Prepare & ship

Prepare your combustible dust samples and ship them to one of our laboratories (UK or India).

Dust Testing, Analysis & Reports

Once we've received your potentially combustible dust or powder samples, we'll begin testing and analysing. We'll then create and send you a custom in-depth report detailing the potentially hazardous properties of your materials.

Post-Project Support

If you need support after receiving your report, our after-project support team will be on hand to assist you with any questions you may have about your combustible dust or powders. We can also aid you in your understanding of what combustible dust explosion hazard prevention measures will be most suitable for your processes.

We also undertake the following combustible dust tests to simulate a primary dust explosion, secondary dust explosion and/or dust ignition:

Test your explosive dust and powders for their minimum ignition energy

Whether your process uses grain dust, coal dust or metal dust, getting your hazardous materials tested is an important step to prevent a combustible dust explosion, flash fire or other process-related hazards. Get in touch to learn more about how we can assist you in keeping your process pant and unit operations safe from combustible dust and powder explosions.


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