Dust content and adhesion characteristics of five corn samples

B. Plumier, Y. Zhao, M. Casada, R. Maghirang, K. Ambrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grain dust explosions are a constant threat to the grain handling industry. Explosions occur when dust accumulates beyond the minimum explosion concentration in a confined area and is exposed to an ignition source. Handling and grain unloading conditions that generate dust, the minimum explosive dust concentration, overpressure from an explosion, and other factors that lead to grain dust explosion are well documented in the literature. The adhesion force that holds grain dust particles to the grain itself is an important factor in better understanding and mitigating dust separation from grain kernels and the resulting dust cloud generation. However, that adhesion force, how it is affected by grain quality, and how it is influenced by particle factors such as size and shape has not been adequately researched. A centrifuge separation technique was used to study the adhesion forces of grain dust. Results showed large variability in dust concentration between the five corn samples tested in this study. The dust particle attachment strength ranged from less than 4.6 × 10-10 N to 2.1 × 10-8 N. Only the sample and centrifuge speed interaction had a statistically significant effect on dust concentrations recovered at a 5% confidence limit. Under repeated centrifugations, the dust removed showed a bimodal distribution of attachment strengths, with three of four samples tested showing a local minimum at 2000 rpm, and the other at 3000 rpm. This study improves the understanding of the fundamental attachment strength behind dust separation from grain kernels. Investigating the size, shape, and surface characteristics of dust particles with varying attachment strengths is important to further understand their adhesion and separation mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-499
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Adhesion strength
  • Dust explosion
  • Dust mitigation
  • Grain dust
  • Grain handling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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