Dust, Dust Suppression, and Dust Control: A Comprehensive Glossary

dust, dust control, dust suppression

Understanding dust and the myriad ways to control and suppress it is essential for a range of industries. From construction to agriculture, the challenges posed by dust are vast. This glossary provides an exhaustive list of terms related to dust, offering clarity to professionals and enthusiasts alike.


Aggregate: A mixture of sand, gravel, crushed stone, or other materials used to improve the surface of roads, potentially reducing dust emissions from unpaved roads.
Airborne Dust: Dust particles that are suspended in the air.
Asphyxiant Dust: Dust that can reduce or displace the normal oxygen concentration in breathing air, leading to potential asphyxiation.
Atomised Mist: Fine water droplets produced by specialised nozzles, often used in dust control systems to capture and suppress airborne dust.


Baghouse: A type of dust collector where dusty air is passed through fabric bags, trapping the dust particles.
Base Course: The layer of material immediately beneath the surface of a paved or unpaved road, influencing both the road’s performance and potential dust generation.
Binder: Materials, often liquid, that bind road surface particles together, mitigating dust emissions.
Blading: The use of graders or similar equipment to level and shape the surface of a road.
Brooming: A practice where loose aggregate or debris is swept off the road surface, which can help in reducing dust.


Capping: The method of applying a layer of specific material, like gravel, to the top of a dirt or haul road, aiming to reduce dust generation and bolster the road’s structural integrity.
Crust Formers: Chemicals or natural products applied to surfaces to form a crust or hard surface layer, serving to reduce dust generation.
Cross-slope: The side-to-side tilt of a road, which can influence water drainage and consequently, dust generation.
Cyclone Separators: Devices that use centrifugal forces to separate dust from gas streams by making the dusty air spin in a cyclonic motion, effectively separating dust particles from the air due to their higher density.


Dirt Roads: Unpaved roads are typically made from native soils, often producing significant dust, especially in dry conditions.
Dust Abatement: The practice of minimising or preventing dust emissions, especially from roads.
Dust Barriers: Physical barriers, like fences or walls, used to block or reduce the movement of dust from one area to another.
Dust Bowl: A term used to describe the American Great Plains region during the severe dust storms of the 1930s.
Dust Cake: The accumulated layer of dust on a filter or other surface.
Dust Cloud Ignition Temperature: The minimum temperature at which a dust cloud will ignite.
Dust Collector: A system used to enhance the quality of air released from industrial and commercial processes by collecting dust and other impurities.
Dust Control: A broader term that encompasses all methods and techniques to minimise or eliminate the generation and spread of dust in various environments.
Dust Curtain: A barrier used to contain or redirect dust in a specific area.
Dust Deflagration Index (Kst): A measure of the explosive potential of dust, with higher values indicating greater explosiveness.
Dust Deposition Rate: The rate at which dust settles out of the air onto the ground or other surfaces.
Dust Devil: A small whirlwind of dust, typically found in arid regions and often seen during dry conditions.
Dust Drift: The movement of dust from one area to another, often driven by the wind.
Dust Emission Factor: A value representing the amount of dust emitted per unit of activity, such as vehicle-miles travelled on a dirt road.
Dust Explosivity: The ability of dust to form an explosive mixture in the air.
Dust Extraction Systems: Systems designed to remove dust from the air in industrial or commercial environments.
Dust Fence: A physical barrier, often made of fabric or other permeable material, placed alongside a road to catch and reduce the travel of airborne dust.
Dust Generation: The process by which activities or natural processes produce dust.
Dust Kick-Up: The act of vehicles lifting dust from the road surface into the air as they pass.
Dust Layer Ignition Temperature: The minimum temperature at which a dust layer will ignite.
Dust Loading: The amount of dust present in the air or on a surface, often expressed as a concentration (e.g., grams of dust per cubic meter of air).
Dust Mask: A mask worn over the nose and mouth to filter out dust particles from the air before they are inhaled.
Dust Monitors: Devices used to measure the concentration of airborne dust particles in a given environment.
Dust Palliatives: Substances applied to a surface to bind dust and soil particles together, preventing them from becoming airborne.
Dust Penetration Depth: The depth to which a dust suppressant or palliative has penetrated into the road surface. A greater penetration depth can mean longer-lasting dust control.
Dust Plume: A visible cloud of dust in the air.
Dust Proof: A term describing materials or enclosures that prevent the penetration of dust.
Dust Retardants: Chemicals applied to a surface to reduce the amount of dust that can become airborne.
Dust Sampling: The collection of dust samples from the air or from surfaces to assess the type, concentration, and potential hazards of the dust.
Dust Seal: A seal designed to prevent the ingress of dust into equipment or enclosures.
Dust Storm: A meteorological phenomenon in which strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere.
Dust Suppression: The act of reducing or preventing the dispersion of dust particles into the air.


Electrostatic Precipitator: A device that removes suspended dust particles from a gas or exhaust by applying a high-voltage electrostatic charge and then collecting the particles on charged plates.
Erosion: The process by which the surface of the earth is worn away by the action of water, wind, or ice, often resulting in dust generation.
Erosion Control Mats: Materials laid on the road or its sides to prevent erosion and subsequent dust generation.


Fugitive Dust: Dust that is not emitted from a specific point source and is often generated by activities like construction, mining, or agriculture.


Geotextiles: Fabrics used beneath the road surface to improve its stability and reduce erosion, which can, in turn, reduce dust.
Gravel Roads: A type of unpaved road where the surface is composed of gravel. They can be more stable than simple dirt roads but can still produce dust.
Ground Cover: Vegetation or materials placed on the ground to reduce the potential for erosion and dust generation.


Haul Roads: Roads specifically designed for heavy or large vehicles, often found in mining operations, logging areas, or construction sites. They can be paved or unpaved, but unpaved haul roads can be significant sources of dust.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter: A type of air filter that can trap at least 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter, such as pollen, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.


Inhalable Dust: The fraction of airborne material that enters the nose and mouth during breathing and can be deposited anywhere in the respiratory tract.


Magnesium Chloride & Calcium Chloride: Salts that can be applied to roads to attract moisture from the air and keep the road surface damp, reducing dust. They function as dust suppressants.


Nuisance Dust: Dust that does not pose a health threat but may cause annoyance or interfere with normal activities.


Palliative Application: The process of applying dust control products, such as water, salts, or polymers, to a road surface.
Particulate Matter (PM): A term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Often categorised by size, e.g., PM10 for particles less than 10 micrometres.
Pneumoconiosis: A category of interstitial lung diseases caused by the inhalation of certain types of dust, often associated with specific industries or exposures.
Polymer Dust Control: The use of synthetic polymers applied to roads to bind soil particles together, reducing dust.


Reclamation: The process of restoring a disturbed area, such as a decommissioned road, to a more natural state to prevent erosion and dust generation.
Revegetation: The process of replanting native plants on disturbed lands, like the sides of roads, to reduce erosion and dust production.
Road Grading: The act of levelling or shaping the surface of a road, which can influence dust production.
Road Stabilisation: Methods used to increase the durability and strength of a road, which can also reduce the amount of dust generated. This can involve adding binders, compacting the road, or using specific road-building techniques.
Rolling Compaction: The use of heavy machinery to compact road materials, increasing their density and cohesion and reducing dust generation.


Sediment Control: Practices designed to prevent the movement of sediment (and associated dust) from one location to another, typically using barriers or filtration systems.
Silicosis: A form of pneumoconiosis caused by the inhalation of fine silica dust, often from quartz.
Silt Content: The percentage of soil particles smaller than 0.075mm in diameter in a road material sample. Higher silt content can lead to more dust generation.
Skid Resistance: The ability of a road surface to resist skidding, which can be reduced if there’s a lot of loose dust or sand on the surface.
Speed Limit Control: Implementing and enforcing speed limits on dirt and haul roads to reduce the amount of dust kicked up by vehicles.
Surfactants: Chemicals that reduce the surface tension of a liquid, often used in dust suppression to help water penetrate and wet dusty surfaces more effectively.


Tackifiers: Chemicals that increase the stickiness or cohesion of a substance, often used in dust palliatives.
Tailgate Spreader: A device mounted on the back of a truck used to evenly spread aggregate or dust control products on a road.
Total Suspended Particulates (TSP): A measure of all particles suspended in the air, including dust.


Ventilation: The provision of fresh air to a room or building, which can help dilute and remove airborne dust.


Washboarding or Corrugation: A series of ridges formed on the surface of unpaved roads due to the repeated passage of vehicles. This can enhance dust production and make the road uncomfortable or challenging to drive on.
Watering Trucks: Vehicles equipped with large tanks and sprayers used to distribute water over roads to suppress dust.
Wet Scrubber: A type of pollution control equipment that uses liquid to remove particulate matter or gases from an industrial exhaust or flue gas.
Wind Erosion: The detachment, transportation, and deposition of soil particles by wind, a significant source of fugitive dust.
Windbreaks: Structures or plantings that are used to reduce wind speed and thus minimise the dispersion of dust.


Zero Dust Emission: A standard or goal indicating that no dust is being released from a specific source or process.

Understanding the terminologies associated with dust and its management is a stepping stone towards devising effective dust control strategies. This glossary serves as a pivotal resource for individuals and professionals in navigating the technical and practical aspects of dust control and suppression. Through mastering these terms, one can better comprehend and tackle the challenges posed by dust across different industries.

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