Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 40 Micron aluminum powder
Date: February 28, 2012 4:16:06 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <ced154bf-b92a-4b7e-85fb-769a6e30d98f**At_Symbol_Here**>

If possible, wet wipe the powder. This reduces the flammability and gets around the problem. Water or water plus a detergent is fine. If critical cleaning is needed and I doubt that it is, follow the water with an IPA wipe down but watch out for exceeding VOC release regulations.


Alternatively, the PI will need to foot the bill for the correct dust removal and capture system and the cleaning operations costs.




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From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Don Abramowitz
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 12:34 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 40 Micron aluminum powder


If you are interested in a vacuum cleaner, you might want to talk to the folks at Nilfisk.  From their "Combustible Dust FAQs" page:  " In short, just because your facility handles combustible dust does not mean you need an explosion-proof vacuum=E2=80=A6but you might."  This FAQ page,, takes you to some other resources, and it might well be worth a call to their tech support staff.


Donald Abramowitz
Environmental Health & Safety Officer
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
(610) 526-5166


Dear DCHAS members:

One of PI in our campus is using 40 micron aluminum powder for the research purpose. After experiment/manipulations, they generate dust (fine layer of Al dust) in the room as well as in instrument surfaces. According from F1 Sheet from the Aluminum Association specified "Standard commercial industrial vacuum cleaners must not be used during cleaning. Vacuum cleaning systems, designed and certified for use with Group E combustible dusts may be used, with limitations (see NFPA 484)". Aluminum powder is highly flammable and can explode in the air under circumstances. [MSDS (JT Baker): Flammable solid, dust may form flammable or explosive mixture with air. Nanomaterial Store MSDS: contact with water liberates extremely flammable gases, spontaneously flammable in air.]

According to NFPA 484: When being used for aluminum powders and aluminum dust, portable vacuum cleaners shall be used only if listed or approved for use with group E dusts (combustible aluminum dust) and shall be identified for use with aluminum only.

I need your recommendations/suggestions in respect to cleaning/decontamination procedures used for the fine layer of materials. Please let me know if any of your facility is working with similar conditions with the aluminum dust. I will greatly appreciate your help in this matter.

Best Regards,


Tilak Chandra, Ph.D.
Chemical Safety Specialist
Environment, Health and Safety
University of Wisconsin-Madison
30 East Campus Mall
Madison, WI 53715
Ph. 608-890-0255
FAX 608-262-6767

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