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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A dust storm blankets Texas homes, in 1935.

Dust is a general name for minute solid particles with diameters less than 20 thou (500 micrometres). Particles in the atmosphere arise from various sources such as soil dust lifted up by wind, volcanic eruptions, and pollution. Dust in homes, offices, and other human environments contains human skin cells, small amounts of plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile fibers, paper fibres, minerals from outdoor soil, and many other materials which may be found in the local environment.[1]


Domestic dust

Composition and types

Most common particles of dust are often better perceived on dark surfaces.

The precise composition of domestic dust may vary widely:

The quantity and composition of house dust varies greatly with seasonal and environmental factors such as the surroundings, exchange of outside air, age of the house, building materials and their condition, and the quantity of furniture and carpets, as well as their state of preservation. The composition of dust also depends upon the ventilation, and heating systems, cleaning habits, activities of the occupants or users of a room, etc. House dust consists of inorganic and organic matter, and the relative proportions of these components may vary considerably. Kindergartens dust often consists almost entirely of inorganic materials like sand, loam, and clay from sand pits. On the other hand, house dust from the homes of animal owners with worn out carpets consists nearly completely of organic material. In a study of 318 house samples, the proportion of organic matter ranged from between <5% and >95% (Butte and Walker, 1994). Fergusson, et al. (1986) reported the organic content of house dust from 11 homes in Christchurch, New Zealand, ranged from 25.7% to 56.5%. Floor dust from seven Danish offices had a mean organic fraction of 33% (Mølhave et al., 2000).[2]
Domestic dust seen under a microscope.

According to the German Environmental Survey, approximately 6 mg/(m²·d) of house dust is formed in private households,[3] depending primarily on the amount of time spent at home. Nearly 1000 dust particles per square centimetre settle on domestic surfaces every hour.[1] Some dust consists of human skin. Scientists estimate that humans shed the entire outer layer of skin every day or two, at a rate of 7 million skin flakes per minute, which corresponds to a mass emission rate of about 20 milligrams per minute.[4] "Dust bunnies" are small clumps of fluff that form when sufficient dust accumulates.

Dust particles acquire a negative charge when introduced into a low pressure RF argon plasma and levitate in the sheath of the lower RF driven electrode due to a balance between the upward electrostatic force and the downward forces of ion drag and gravity. An external negative DC voltage greater than the negative self-bias is applied to the driven electrode, which further repels the plasma electrons so increasing the sheath size and moving the equilibrium height of the dust particles upwards. Increasing the negative DC voltage is found to cause the lowest dust particles to fall through the sheath to the driven electrode. The trajectories of these falling particles have been recorded with a high speed camera and analysed. The charge on the dust particles is deduced from the equation of motion. It is found that the dust particles always remain negatively charged even deep in the sheath.

Domestic dust and humans

Three years of use without cleaning has caused this laptop heat sink to become clogged with dust, rendering the computer unusable due to possibility of overheating.

Insects and other small fauna found in houses subtly interact with dust and may have adverse impact on the health of humans[citation needed].

Dust may worsen hay fever. Circulating outdoor air through a house by keeping doors and windows open, or at least slightly ajar, may reduce the risk of hay fever-causing dust. In colder climates, occupants seal even the smallest air gaps, and eliminate outside fresh air circulating inside the house. So it is essential to manage dust and airflow.[citation needed].

House dust mites exist on all indoor surfaces and even suspended in the air. They feed on minute particles of organic matter, the main constituent of house dust. Dust mites flourish in the fibers of bedding, furniture, and carpets. They excrete enzymes to digest the organic particles, and excrete feces, that together become part of the house dust, and may irritate allergies.[5]

Alternately, the hygiene hypothesis posits that the modern obsession with cleanliness is as much a problem as house dust mites. The hygiene hypothesis argues that our lack of prior pathogenic exposure may in fact encourage the development of ailments including hay fever and asthma.[6][7]

Atmospheric dust

Large dust storm over Libya.

Airborne dust is considered an aerosol and can have a strong local radiative forcing on the atmosphere and significant effects on climate. In addition, if enough minute particles are dispersed within the air in a given area (such as flour or coal dust), under certain circumstances can cause an explosion hazard.

Coal dust is responsible for the lung disease known as Pneumoconiosis, including black lung disease, that occurs among coal miners. The danger of coal dust resulted in environmental legislation regulating work place air quality in some jurisdictions.

Road dust

Dust kicked up by vehicles traveling on roads,[8] may make up 33% of air pollution[9] Road dust consists of deposition of vehicle exhausts and industrial exhausts, tire and brake wears, dust from paved roads or potholes, and dust from construction sites.[10] Road dust represents a significant source contributing to the generation and release of particulate matter into the atmosphere.[11] Control of road dust is a significant challenge in urban areas, and also in other spheres with high levels of vehicular traffic upon unsealed roads such as mines and garbage dumps. Road dust may be suppressed by mechanical methods like sweeping vehicles,[12] with vegetable oils,[13] or with water sprayers.

Dust control

Control of atmospheric dust

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates facilities that generate dust minimize or mitigate the production of dust in their operation. The most frequent dust control violations occur at new residential housing developments in urban areas. United States Federal law requires that construction sites obtain permits to conduct earth moving, and include plans to control dust emissions. Control measures include such simple practices as spraying construction and demolition sites with water, and preventing the tracking of dust onto adjacent roads. US federal laws require dust control on sources such as vacant lots, unpaved parking lots, and unpaved roads. Dust in such places may be suppressed by mechanical methods[citation needed], including paving or laying down gravel, or stabilizing the surface with water, vegetable oils[13] or other dust suppressants, or by using water misters to suppress dust that is already airborne[citation needed].

Control of domestic dust

Dust control is the suppression of solid particles with diameters less than 500 micrometers. Dust in the airstream poses a serious health threat to children,[14] older people, and those with respiratory illnesses. House dust can become airborne easily. Care should be exercised when removing dust to avoid causing the dust to become airborne. Some dust removing devices trap some dust. One way to repel dust is with an electrical charge[citation needed]. Water-trap vacuums such as the Rainbow, eliminate the risk of broadcasting dust by drowning the dust particles in water. Dust subsequently cannot escape the container to fly back into the air.

Control of dust resistance on surfaces

A dust resistant surface is a state of prevention against dust contamination or damage, by a design or treatment of materials and items in manufacturing or through a repair process. A panel, container or enclosure with seams may feature types of strengthened rigidity or sealant to vulnerable edges and joins.

Dust in other contexts

Dust in outer space

Cosmic dust is widely present in space, where gas and dust clouds are primary precursors for planetary systems. The zodiacal light seen in the dark night sky, is produced by sunlight reflected from particles of dust in orbit around the Sun. The tails of comets are produced by emissions of dust and ionized gas from the body of the comet. Dust also covers solid planetary bodies, and vast dust storms occur on Mars that cover almost the entire planet. Interstellar dust is found between the stars, and high concentrations produce diffuse nebulae and reflection nebulae.

Dust is widely present in the galaxy. Ambient radiation heats dust and re-emits radiation into the microwave band, which may distort the cosmic microwave background power spectrum. Dust in this regime has a complicated emission spectrum, and includes both thermal dust emission and spinning dust emission.[15]

Dust samples returned from outer space may provide information about conditions in the early solar system. Several spacecraft have sought to gather samples of dust and other materials. Among these craft was Stardust, which flew past Comet Wild 2 in 2004, and returned a capsule of the comet's remains to Earth in January 2006. The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft is on a mission to collect samples of dust from the surface of an asteroid.

Art and entertainment

Stippling and airbrushing are fine art techniques that can create dust. In video games, a particle system is usually used.


See also


  1. ^ a b Kathleen Hess-Kosa, (2002), Indoor Air Quality: sampling methodologies, page 216. CRC Press.
  2. ^ Lidia Morawska, Tunga Salthammer, (2003), Indoor Environment: Airborne Particles and Settled Dust, page 409. Wiley-VCH.
  3. ^ George W. Ware, (2002), Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, page 4. Springer.
  4. ^ Heinsohn, R., Cimbala, J., (2003) Indoor Air Quality Engineering: Environmental Health and Control of Indoor Pollutants. page 146. CRC Press.
  5. ^ Abadi, Sara (August 2009). "The Great American Hygiene Survey Results Revealed". AOL Health. Retrieved August 2009. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ "Dust mites in the humid atmosphere of Bangalore trigger around 60% of asthma" [1]
  15. ^ D. P. Finkbeiner, M. Davis and D. J. Schlegel (1999). "Extrapolation of Galactic Dust Emission at 100 Microns to CMBR Frequencies Using FIRAS". Astrophys. J. 524: 867. doi:10.1086/307852.  arΧiv:astro-ph/9905128


  • Holmes, Hannah; (2001)The Secret Life of Dust. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-37743-0
  • Steedman, Carolyn; (2002) Dust. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0719060151

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by Sara Teasdale

When I went to look at what had long been hidden,
     A jewel laid long ago in a secret place,
I trembled, for I thought to see its dark deep fire --
     But only a pinch of dust blew up in my face.

I almost gave my life long ago for a thing
     That has gone to dust now, stinging my eyes --
It is strange how often a heart must be broken
     Before the years can make it wise.

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1933, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Storms of sand and dust sometimes overtake Eastern travellers. They are very dreadful, many perishing under them. Jehovah threatens to bring on the land of Israel, as a punishment for forsaking him, a rain of "powder and dust" (Deut 28:24).

To cast dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Josh 7:6); and to sit in dust, of extreme affliction (Isa 47:1). "Dust" is used to denote the grave (Job 7:21). "To shake off the dust from one's feet" against another is to renounce all future intercourse with him (Mt 10:14; Acts 13:51). To "lick the dust" is a sign of abject submission (Ps 729); and to throw dust at one is a sign of abhorrence (2 Sam 16:13; comp. Acts 22:23).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

'Dust' is fine, solid particles of matter.

Dust may also mean:

  • Dust (band), a 70s hard rock group
  • Dust (His Dark Materials), a fictional form of matter in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
  • Dust (novel), by Charles Pellegrino
  • Dust (comics), a Marvel Comics character
  • Dust (1985 film), based on J. M. Coetzee's In the Heart of the Country
  • Dust (2001 film) (Прашина), directed by Milčo Mančevski
  • Dust (Screaming Trees album)
  • Dust (Mourning Beloveth album)
  • Dust (Peter Murphy album)
  • Dust: A Tale of the Wired West, a PC adventure game

For articles on how the word dust is used as a technical term in physics, astronomy, cosmology, and environmental science, see:

  • Cosmic dust, on intergalactic clouds
  • Interstellar clouds, on interstellar dust
  • Dust solution, a type of exact solution in general relativity
  • Dust (relativity), idealization of a cold gas
  • Mineral dust

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