What is Combustible Dust?

Posted by Danielle Watson-Goetz on

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines a combustible dust as “a combustible particulate solid that presents a fire or deflagration hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations, regardless of particle size or shape.”

Combustible particulates having an effective diameter of 420 μm or smaller are generally considered to be combustible dusts. The vast majority of natural and synthetic organic materials, as well as some metals, can form combustible dust. The NFPA’s Industrial Fire Hazards Handbook states, “Any industrial process that reduces a combustible material and some normally non-combustible materials to a finely divided state presents a potential for a serious fire or explosion.”


Types of Combustible Dust:


There are multiple types of combustible dust, and these types are broken down into divisions and groups. Combustible dusts are rated as Class II.




Division 1

Division 1 locations are areas where combustible dust is normally suspended in the air in sufficient quantities to produce materials that can ignite. Division 1 locations also include areas where mechanical failure or incorrect operation of equipment may cause an explosion.


Division 2

Division 2 locations are where combustible dust is not normally in the air in the air in sufficient quantities to produce materials that can ignite. Division 2 locations also do not normally have enough combustible dust to interfere with incorrect equipment operations. Division 2 locations also includes areas where combustible dust may become suspended in the air as a result of malfunction.




Group E

Group E dusts include metal dusts. Not only are metal dusts highly abrasive, they are also electrically conducive. Group E dusts can cause motor bearings to overheat and electrical failure of equipment.

Group F

Group F dusts contain carbon or carbon compounds. Carbonaceous dusts have a lower ignition temperature than Group E dusts and are semi-conductive.

Group G

Group G dusts include chemical, food, grain, and plastic dusts. Group G dusts are not conductive and have the lowest ignition temperatures of Class II dusts.


Which industries are at risk with combustible dust?


  • 3D Printing
  • Aerospace/Aviation
  • Agriculture
  • Ammunitions
  • Automotive
  • Biological/ Biotechnologies
  • Chemicals
  • Cleanrooms
  • Coal
  • Cosmetic
  • Electronics
  • Environmental
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Fertilizer
  • Firing Ranges
  • Foundries
  • Food Processing
  • Healthcare
  • Laboratories
  • Manufacturing
  • Metals
  • Military/ Defense
  • Mining
  • Packaging
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Power
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Pyrotechnical
  • Recycling
  • Shipyards/ Docks
  • Telecommunications
  • Textile
  • Tobacco
  • Waste


How Do You Clean Combustible Dust?


Combustible dust cannot be cleaned with a regular vacuum, and requires specific attachments as to not cause static buildup, resulting in ignition. SkyVac and PrestiVac, our recommended choices for the removal of combustible dust, provide vaccums that are CSA-certified.


SkyVac A37 G Health & Safety Vacuum System for Combustible Dust


The SkyVac A37 G Health & Safety Vacuum System is CSA-certified, suitable for use in Class II, Division 2, Group F & G environments.


Key Features

  • Pull Clean System cleans the antistatic filter while the vacuum is running, without the need to stop working
  • Single phase 120V brushless motor
  • HEPA14/ULPA15 absolute filtration for very fine dust
  • Conductive poles and floor accessories
  • Canister capacity: 9.8 gallons (37 liters), removable
  • Stainless steel
  • Compact dimensions


To learn more about the  SkyVac A37 G, please watch the following video:


PrestiVac EV1 EX DIV2 CR

Featuring 561 Air Watts, 120v/ 12a/ 1488w of electricity, 123 CFM, 135 vacuum pressure, dry collection, and 72 dBA at 6ft, the EV 1 is available in 10- or 15-gallon capacity.


For more information on removing combustible dust from your manufacturing area, please give us a call at 844-759-8227.


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