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A Guide to Dust Suppression Methods to Control Dust and Storms

Dealing with dust is an everyday reality when handling bulk materials at mining sites, industrial plants, construction sites, logging operations, and storage facilities.

Dust Suppression

Dust clouds and storms can occur when material is being moved at high speeds on conveyor belts; transported by truck on haul roads; delivered via rail car, or unloaded from ships.

Fugitive dust storms can unleash mayhem on plant operations. They cause problems for personnel, damage equipment, threaten the environment and leave a mess everywhere.

Addressing the challenge of dust control calls for an innovative solution. Here’s a guide to dust suppression methods to control dust and storms.

Effective Chemical Dust Suppression

Water is commonly used as a dust suppressant when handling bulk material such as coal, limestone, cement, ash, iron ore, copper, nickel, platinum, and gold.

However, water alone is ineffective because the surface of the water is too hard to absorb dust particles. Instead of penetrating and adhering to the bulk material, water particles bounce off its exterior.

Chemical dust suppression is a proven method that addresses this problem.

Combining water with chemical wetting agents softens surface tension and facilitates penetration and adhesion to bulk materials. Chemical wetting agents form a solid layer over the bulk material to shield it from erosion caused by wind and rain and discharge during transport.

Chemical dust suppressants can be used for short­term dust suppression during conveyor transfers or off­site transport. The chemical agent effectively coats bulk material, dirt road surfaces and embankments. Short­term dust suppressants last between five and thirty days.

Chemical dust suppressants can also be used for long­term storage. The suppressants increase soil stabilization so less dust is released during storage. Long­term dust suppressants last between six months and one year.

There are several variations of chemical dust suppressants and the type of formula used depends on the type of bulk material being handled.

What are the Benefits of Chemical Dust Suppression?

There are several benefits to using chemical suppressants to prevent dust clouds and storms.

They reduce the cost of plant operations by using less water and requiring less clean up.

As a result, sites are cleaner, safer and in compliance with government regulations.

Plants also see an increase in productivity since there is less need for downtime to clean dust.

Additionally, the volume of product sold is higher since more material is retained instead of lost in the environment.

Chemical dust suppressants are also eco­friendly. In addition to reducing the amount of bulk material released in the environment, the suppressants are fully biodegradable and made using green technologies.

Almex manufactures a complete line of dust control chemicals and coatings designed to effectively suppress dust clouds and storms.