What is silica dust?
When carrying out construction work, you may be handling powerful machinery and equipment that emits dust that can be harmful to your health. One such dust is silica. Respirable crystalline silica is dust generated during high-energy operations such as sawing, cutting, drilling, etc. These very fine particles of crystalline silica when released into the air become respirable dust that can pose a threat to one’s health, making effective dust suppression solutions essential on construction sites.
how to control silica dust
Technology for dust suppression is not new. Although dust control has been practised for many years, operators have looked for new, creative ways to comply with laws as they have gotten more stringent.
For many years, businesses used sprinklers and hoses to control fine dust particles. The first was designed for irrigation and the second was for extinguishing fires. Both are excellent at maximising water flow, which is what they were designed to do. Research has shown that these techniques do not work well to reduce dust and frequently do more harm than good.
Dust has received a lot of attention over the past ten years. The initial dust suppression systems were built around a few ideas for simplifying and lowering the cost of regulatory compliance.
It can be difficult to understand new techniques for dust control at industrial sites at first, but they are simply put down into simple words.
1. Smaller water droplets are more effective as an airborne dust suppression solution
To atomise something is to break it down into incredibly tiny particles or droplets. Using precisely designed nozzles, atomized mist technology divides the stream of water into millions of tiny droplets.
The Slipstream Effect is the key concept in dust control theory. The water droplet and dust particles must be about the same size to truly capture fugitive dust in the air and transport it to the ground.
If the dust particle is larger than the droplet, it will often follow the airstream around the droplet. The likelihood that a dust particle will collide with a water droplet and be absorbed, sending the dust to the ground, increases if the diameters of the two particles are similar.
Industrial sprinklers can produce droplets that are even smaller than those produced by rainstorms, which can produce droplets in the 2,000 to 6,000 micron range.
Additionally, the bigger water droplets have the potential to stir up the ground dust, producing more fugitive dust.
The best range for capturing airborne dust is between 50 and 200 microns, when atomized mist disperses its droplets.
2. Fugitive dust particles can be avoided by controlling the surface and the air.
Even though they consume a lot more water than necessary, hoses and sprinklers can dampen surfaces to minimise dust.
Even smaller droplets than mist are produced by fog systems, which in some cases may be necessary. Fog systems, however, do not use enough moisture to leave any lasting impact on surfaces, making them high maintenance and expensive, frequently requiring distilled water, compressed air, and tightly controlled conditions.
The only technique that can seal the surface to suppress dust and force airborne dust particles to the ground is atomized misting systems.
3. Small water droplets + enough water = incredible coverage.
Due to their increased surface area to mass ratio, smaller droplets have the ability to travel further, which means that air pressure has a substantially stronger influence than gravity. As a result, they will remain in the air for longer before falling because of gravity.
Alternatively, heavier water droplets will succumb to gravity more quickly. This is evident in clouds. Rain falls when water droplets get too big and start to fall.
You need the appropriate nozzle for your situation because smaller water droplets may be more prone to evaporation. Depending on the needs of your site, this can even be the desired outcome.
When atomising nozzles and a powerful fan are used together to control dust, droplets can overcome air resistance and cover up to around five football fields when using the V12s Dust Controller.
4. Too much water won’t improve dust suppression and can create problems.
In terms of dust control solutions, the V12s Dust Controller minimises the possibility of over-saturation and runoff, which may be expensive if not managed properly but delivers enough water to cover wide areas and seal surfaces.
Older dust suppression products and techniques can be used to attempt and save money, but in the long run, they cost more. Beyond simply saving money on the water itself, atomized mist technology is a cost-effective solution that offers advantages.
Control Hire are experts in construction site equipment needed for dust control, noise control, ventilation control and fume control. Ensure that your workers are protected each day. Click here for more information or a free consultation.