The propagation of a strong normal shock wave into a quiescent mixture of nitrogen gas seeded with small, spherical inert dust particles is studied. While crossing the shock front, the gaseous phase of the suspension experiences a sudden change in temperature, pressure, density and velocity. (These changes can easily be evaluated using the Rankine-Hugoniot relations.) The solid phase of the suspension (dust) is initially unaffected by the shock wave. As a result, immediately behind the shock front, one phase of the suspension (the nitrogen gas) is in a state of relatively high temperature and low velocity while the other (the dust) is in a state of relatively low temperature and high velocity. Owing to these differences in temperature and velocity, intense heat transfer and viscous interactions between the two phases take place leading eventually to a new state of equilibrium that is reached farther downstream of the shock front. The flow field where these interactions take place, the relaxation zone, is solved numerically. It is shown that the spatial extent of this zone is strongly affected by the mass concentration of the dust in the suspenson and its physical properties (size, density and specific-heat capacity). These parameters also affect the post-shock equilibrium suspension properties. It was found that increasing the dust concentration results in a shorter kinematic relaxation zone, higher post-shock suspension pressure, density and temperature, and lower velocity, as compared to a similar pure-gas case. Increasing the dust particle density or its diameter results in a longer relaxation zone and a higher post-shock equilibrium suspension pressure, density and temperature. Changes in the dust specific-heat capacity affect the extent at the thermal relaxation length and the suspension temperature and density; they do not affect the extent of the kinematic relaxation length or the post-shock suspension pressure and velocity. For the range of dust concentration, size, density, specific-heat capacity and shock-wave Mach number investigated, the kinematic relaxation zone is always longer than the thermal relaxation zone.