Dust control methods are techniques used to control dust particulate matter emissions at mining and construction sites.

Global Road Technology is a world-class leader in innovative dust control methods for dynamic dust management with the superiority of being 12 times more effective at dust capture than water alone. There is a wide range of dust control methods you can choose from the GRT marketplace. For example, GRT:12X is one of the safest and effective ways to manage drilling-related dust instantly targets the causes of dust-related lung diseases, preventing it from becoming an airborne hazard that poses danger to human health and the environment. 

Dust consists of small airborne particles and occurs primarily due to wind and traffic movements. The dust particle sizes differ according to the nature of the activity that generated them and this determines the dust control method to be implemented. There are different dust control techniques used in mining and construction sites.

GRT is an industry leader in highly refined synthetic fluids, surface active agents and polymeric dust control methods. 

The top 10 dust control methods are:

  1. Water
  2. Salts and brines
  3. Bitumen emulsions 
  4. Surface active agents 
  5. Lignosulfonates
  6. Liquid polymers
  7. Highly refined synthetic fluids  
  8. Polymer emulsions 
  9. Petroleum derivatives
  10. Vegetable oils 

Water is the most widely used dust suppressant. To date, the most widely utilized dust control measure has been particle agglomeration through the capillary effect of water. The challenges to using water include:

  • balance between efficacy and sustainability remains a cause for concern. 
  • single application has a very short-lasting effect, so watering lasts for a short period. 
  • may over wet the surface, destroy soil structure and make it non-suitable as a sub-grade.

Salts and brines applications are the next most common dust control methods. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are the major products in this group.

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Salts require minimum humidity levels to absorb moisture from the air and have the ability to:

  • absorb water from the atmosphere 
  • increase surface tension of water film between particles.  
  • slow down evaporation. 
  • However are corrosive and questionable environmentally.

Bitumen emulsions are formulated from water and neat bitumen in the presence of a surfactant to form either a W/O or O/W emulsion. The limitations of bitumen emulsions include: 

  • release of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. 
  • too many fines can lead to crust formation and fragmentation.
  • phase chemistry of bitumen emulsion also makes applications difficult to maintain. 

Surface active agents are a GRT specialty which make water work for you. Overcoming the dust challenges facing your mining and construction site is achieved through using GRT: ACTIVATE and the following is achieved: 

  • overcoming high surface tension and surface charge of water.
  • capturing airborne dust particles. 
  • forcing them to drop out of suspension in the air 
  • reducing water requirements on mining and construction sites. 

Lignosulfonate is a polyelectrolyte polymer that has good water solubility and its aqueous solution consists of a mass of anions. It is a by-product of the chemical pulping industry. On the downside:

  • leaching happens in the presence of rainfall.
  • known to be corrosive to some metals and their alloys as well.

Liquid polymers are used to bind and coat surfaces to control dust. GRT formulates liquid polymers to target dust control with incentive of reducing the amount of water used in dust control. In mining, GRT:Haul-Loc is a liquid polymer specifically formulated for haul road dust control. These are the benefits of using liquid polymers: 

  • polymeric component is performed to target saturation, penetration and bonding on the top layer even after water evaporates.
  • reduction in volume of water used which in the process saves time and costs.
  • biocompatible liquid polymers outperforms post evaporative moisture compared to conventional water treatment. 

dust-control-methods-techniques-global-road-technology

Highly refined synthetic fluids are the latest environmentally friendly dust control products which works through adsorption onto the treated surface, making dust particles heavy to be airborne. The benefits of using GRT’s highly refined synthetic fluid GRT: Wet-Loc include its ability to be:

  • effective immediately.  
  • environmentally friendly.
  • clear. 
  • non-hazardous. 
  • water-resistant. 
  • odourless.

Synthetic polymer emulsions bind surface particles together via their adhesive properties which increases the shear strength of the material. Their mechanism of action relies on evaporation kinetics, where removal of water leads to a transition from flocs into a film as a result of coalescence. The challenges faced by synthetic polymer emulsions include:

  • difficulty to maintain as a hard surface. 
  • susceptibility to photodegradation. 
  • However – excellent for light traffic and erosion control.

Petroleum derivatives such as mineral oil are produced from highly refined crude oil. agglomerate surface particles and are applied in their neat form hence do not require any dilution with water and have been used with great success to access extended dust control applications Their drawbacks are that they are:

  • prone to evaporation 
  • susceptible to breaking down quickly 
  • expensive. 

Vegetable oils such as soybean, cottonseed and canola oil are common dust control methods. These substances are environmentally safe and biodegradable but they have the following limitations:

  • limited availability. 
  • oxidize rapidly. 
  • become brittle. 
  • evaporate easily 
  • short-lasting solutions. 
  • mixing with a soil that has a high content of silt and clay will produce a slick mess. 

Many years of research have gone into Global Road Technology’s environmentally friendly and cost-effective dust control portfolio. GRT offers dust control products applicable and effective under extreme conditions. Costs savings of 30-40% are accomplished due to the removal of daily watering and grading, less wear and tear on vehicles, improved haul times, elimination of downtime during and after wet weather (independently verified by Deloitte). GRT products have been tested and verified by several leading universities and private testing organisations such as certified environment-friendly by Environmental Resource Management (ERM).

For more information regarding Global Road Technology or dust control methods please contact us and let Daniel Grundy help you select what is best for your construction or mining site from our dust control portfolio. 

REFERENCES 

Ball, G.F.A., Herrington, P.R., Patrick, J.E. 2008. Environmental Effects of Emulsions. Land Transport New Zealand Research Report 343. 

Ding, X., Xu, G., Kizil, M., Zhou, W., and Guo, X. 2018. Lignosulfonate Treating Bauxite Dust Pollution: Effect of Mechanical Properties and Wind Erosion Behavior. Water Air Soil Pollut. 229:214. 1-13.

Hossain, S.Z., Mumford, K.G., and Rutter, A. 2017. Laboratory study of mass transfer from diluted bitumen trapped in gravel. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts.

Jones, D. Holistic Approach to Research into Dust and Dust Control on Unsealed Roads. Transportation Research Record 1652

Jones, D., James, D., Vitale, R. 2008. Road Dust Management: State of the practice. In Proceedings of 1st Road Dust Management Conference, 13-14 November, San Antonio, Texas