IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Characterization and control of the silica dust emitted by the dry and wet polishing operation in the granite and other quartz-containing-materials processing sector


In Quebec, more than 200 facilities process granite and other quartz-containing materials. The CSST, in collaboration with the IRSST, has published a good practice guide on exposure prevention which recommends work practices to improve air quality. However, these practices may be costly or insufficient to guarantee a healthy working environment in all circumstances, particularly during dry or wet polishing of very high-quartz materials. In this project, the researchers seek to understand dust generation and dispersion mechanisms with a view to proposing more effective remedial measures for these specific operations.

They will simulate dry and wet polishing operations in the laboratory and observe particle generation and dispersion mechanisms in granite and composite materials processing. Quartz dust emission, dispersion and granulometry will be characterized according to the rotation speed and tilt angle of the polishing disk, the silica content of the materials used and the quantity of water used in wet polishing.

The researchers will propose a model that can be used to compare dust reduction devices at the source during polishing. The model will be validated through experimental testing.

Insight into the phenomena involved will make it possible to adapt effective means for controlling dust emissions and minimizing exposure to quartz resulting from granite polishing. This may involve modifying the work method, using local ventilation adapted to polishing operations and using an optimal quantity of water.

The project findings may be adapted to other workers using high-speed rotating tools that produce other types of dust, as in construction or wood processing. In a future project, the researchers will seek to adapt the solutions identified in the laboratory and implement them the workplace.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2010-0058
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2019
  • Ali Bahloul (IRSST)
  • Victor Songmene (École de technologie supérieure)
  • Marcelo Reggio (Polytechnique Montréal)