Wondering what goes into an effective dust control product? To understand it fully, you’ll have to zoom in to see how the process works — and how it doesn’t work — on a molecular level.
Unpaved roads, especially ones that see heavy industrial use, can produce a lot of airborne dust. As the road’s surface is degraded by weather and traffic, fine particles from the soil break loose and are released into the air, causing the kind of decreased visibility and air quality that can result in heavy fines from regulatory agencies. Also of concern, they pose a threat to worker safety, as well as the strength and stability of the road itself.
The consequences of fugitive dust are clearly expensive and problematic from an operational perspective: it’s no wonder then that so many companies seek out a solution in the form of dust control.
What Does Dust Control Accomplish?
Dust control involves the application of a variety of chemicals to a road in order to suppress fugitive particles. Every road is different, and there are a variety of dust control products with their own chemical makeups designed for particular soil compositions, traffic volumes, and climates. Depending on the level of dust control desired, these products vary in price, and managed application and maintenance programs can be quite comprehensive.
Molecular Structure: What Works and What Doesn’t
The effectiveness of a dust control product is largely determined by its chemical makeup — and more specifically, its molecular structure.
Imagine a room filled with hundreds of different kinds of marbles. The air in between them would be as varied as the marbles themselves, and the introduction of pressure and weight atop all the marbles would cause different degrees of movement and instability depending on their size and air pressure.
Now imagine a room filled exclusively with small, similarly sized marbles. The air in between the marbles would be similar as well, and the introduction of pressure and weight would cause considerably less shifting and movement of the marbles.
The same logic can be applied to molecular chemistry and the science behind a quality dust control product. The room with all different sizes of marbles is much like a dust control product composed of base oils: base oils have irregular molecular structure, containing double bonds of oxygen and sulfur that make the molecular chain volatile or unstable. And the more unstable the structure, the less effective the product will be at suppressing movement and, therefore, fine particles of dust.
Like the room filled with identical marbles, on the other hand, a synthetic fluid-based dust control product is more molecularly homogenous, and therefore, more effective. Synthetic fluids are especially fit for dust control because their stable state gives them a greater load-bearing capacity, makes them more resistant to the elements, and makes them last longer. With unstable oxygen and sulfur molecules engineered out of the formula, external forces like the weather will do little to alter the surface. Not only that, but unlike base oils, synthetic fluids offer no regulatory risks or special reporting requirements.
Strong and Stable Dust Control
Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. prides itself on offering a top-notch suite of dust control products. Our specially formulated EK35® and EnviroKleen® products are created with a patented manufacturing process called Synthetic Organic Dust Control®, making use of synthetic fluids rather than unstable base oils. When applied to roads, these fluids don’t change their molecular form, ensuring consistent coating and performance. With increased binding capabilities, synthetic fluids stop fugitive dust before it starts.
Midwest doesn’t just sell the best products on the market for dust control — we specialize in developing custom application programs for each individual worksite. Our application specialists and product experts work hand-in-hand with our clients to develop a program optimized to the unique problems of their sites, considering both long-term needs and budget.
When it comes to dust control programs for roads and surfaces, non-traffic areas, or material handling, Midwest has been delivering quality products and programs for over 40 years. Contact us to learn more.