Combustible dust is a very familiar safety hazard to those who work in operations that process and handle powder and bulk solids, but the general public tends to be less aware of dust explosions and fires.
This month, ComDust science became a bit more mainstream with the release of the “Bust the Dust” add-on kit for the popular simulation game "The Sims 4." The downloadable content challenges players to combat ever-growing dust piles and dust bunny creatures in Sims’ dwellings with vacuums.
“Be careful, though, if you let the dust settle for long enough, you might find your house engulfed the fire spawned by filth,” writes Antoinette Muller, a journalist who covers "The Sims," in the blog Extra Time Media.
If you let the dust build up on floors and surfaces too long the home enters a “filthy” state, and the dust bunnies’ evil counterparts, “filth fiends,” appear. These red-eyed critters can cause the combustible dust to ignite in the game.
“If they’re feeling extra mischievous, they may start a fire in your home because they are little buggers,” explains a post on UltimateSimsGuides.com. “You’ll need to become friendly with a filth fiend to get this done and appease them with filth tributes which will become an option as you grow close to these gross creatures.”
Fortunately, “filth tributes” aren’t needed to keep facilities that work with dry particulates and bulk solid materials safe. Engineers can turn to a wide range of technologies and solutions manage combustible dust hazards, from industrial vacuums, dust collectors, and more. While the dust fires in "The Sims 4" are not presented realistically, it does make you wonder if industry might someday turn to a dust mitigation simulation game of some sort to train workers on combustible dust hazards.
To learn more about dust collection and air pollution control, click here.