Presentation Abstract

Title: Determination of Particle Size Distribution from Welding Rod Flux Handling

Authors: Leonard G. Burrelli and John W. Spencer

Presented at: AIHce 2011, Portland, Oregon


A study was completed to determine the particle sizes of debris generated from the flux of three types of welding rods during handling activities.  The three activities studied were hammering the flux off of rods in a procedure called “slugging;” bending rods, and walking on bent rods. 


Each rod type and handling activity was studied separately to obtain specific data for a rod type and a handling activity.  Debris generated from the handling activities was collected and submitted for analysis for particle size distribution (PSD).  The methodology used by the laboratory was Analytical Method for Particle Sizing of Bulk Powders by Sieve Analysis, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) and IXRF Digital Image System.


Results showed that in excess of 94% of the particulate generated from each of the handling activities was larger than 125 micrometers.  Particulate in the range of respirable diameters, i.e., <10 micrometers, ranged from none detected to 0.074%.  From a review of the data it appears that particle sizes were not dependent on rod type.
Following completion of the study, a QA validation study was conducted to verify the initial results.  Specifically, the welding rod flux slugging and bending activities were performed within a glove box to collect and monitor airborne particulate that may have been generated. 
Results of the validation study showed that the total weight percentage of the respirable component for the slugging activity was measured at 0.0183%, i.e., lower than the initial study of 0.0694%.  For the other handling activities, the total weight percentage for the respirable fraction was not statistically different than the initial study measurements.


In conclusion, particle size measurements including air particulates are not significantly different than measurements of particles collected only from work surfaces.


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