Abstract In the work presented in this paper, the explosion and flammability behavior of combustible dust mixtures was studied. Lycopodium, Nicotinic acid and Ascorbic acid were used as sample dusts. In the case of mixtures of two dusts, the minimum explosive concentration is reproduced well by a Le Chatelier's rule-like formula, whereas the minimum ignition energy is a linear combination of the ignition energies of the pure dusts. An unexpected behavior has been found in relation to the explosion behavior and the reactivity. When mixing Lycopodium and Nicotinic acid or Ascorbic acid, the rate of pressure rise of the mixture is much higher than the rate of pressure rise obtained by linearly averaging the values of the pure dusts (according to their weight proportions), thus suggesting that strong synergistic effects arise; but it is comparable to that of the most reactive dust in the mixture. The observed behavior seems to be linked to the presence of minerals in the Lycopodium particles which catalyze oxidation reactions of Nicotinic acid and Ascorbic acid, as suggested by TG analysis. In the case of mixtures of three dusts, a similar behavior is observed when the concentration of Lycopodium is twice that of the other two dusts.

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