Skip to main content

T-00234: System to Prevent Ignition of Organic Dusts Near Hot Engine Components


A fire problem exists in gasoline and diesel powered equipment operated in environments in which volumes of organic dusts become aerosolized. Plant residues can be of sizes small enough to be suspended in the air. These particles can be deposited and build up on the surfaces of the equipment. While the machines generally are equipped with some form of screen to prevent airborne residue from reaching the radiator system of the equipment, small particles can pass through this filter and be blown by the radiator fan across the surface of the engine. When the engine is heavily loaded and the dust particles are very dry, it is possible for dust deposits on hot surfaces to smolder and/or for some portion of the airborne dust particles to reach auto ignition temperature.


SDSU researchers have developed a Patent Pending system to prevent aerosol dusts from reaching the zone around the hottest exhaust system components. A specially crafted enclosure can be fitted to the engine to envelop the exhaust turbine and exhaust manifold against the engine block. The design of the enclosures allow for a flow of dust-free air to be introduced by a fan or blower and filter in to the enclosure around the exhaust system while keeping a positive pressure differential across all parts of the enclosure.


The ability to keep the surface of the enclosure free of accumulated dust simultaneously reduces the temperature of the exhaust system can reduce engine fires in combines and other machines exposed to organic dusts. Many farmers that drive combines at suboptimal speeds in order to keep the heat of the exhaust system reduced will be able to use their combines to the fullest extent of the machine’s capability. Additionally, the farmer will not have to constantly be stopping to check for possible exhaust ignitions of dust which can result in a combine fire if not spotted immediately. This system can allow for optimal harvesting results while giving the user a peace of mind during the harvest.