Chemical Reaction Hazard Testing

Uncompromising safety standards and chemical process optimization

The consequences of runaway exothermic chemical reactions can be devastating. Runaway reactions at Bhopal and Seveso serve to highlight the lasting impression created by such events and the indelible smudge on the reputation of the operating companies involved. When working with any manufacturing process it is always necessary to establish the hazards associated with its operation.

The understanding of chemical reactions and material reactivity is a critical element of safe processing as exothermic chemical processes are abundant in manufacturing processes. Often these reactions are inherent in the transformation we are undertaking (e.g. the conversion of styrene to polystyrene) – on other occasions these may be unintended reactions which are not part of our processing plan (e.g. decomposition of a material due to contamination or over-temperature exposure).

The identification, assessment and characterization of both intended and, more importantly, unintended exothermic reactions, are critical for ensuring the safe scale-up and operation of a chemical process. This often involves the employment of a strategy to assess reaction hazards and thermally unstable substances to most foreseeable plant situations.

Our preventive methodology, designed to be a cost-effective mechanism for assessing all processes, encompasses chemical reaction hazard assessments. We have state-of-the-art laboratory technology and extensive experience in chemical process development and optimization field. We can bring fresh, practical approach to old processes and have the resources available to study and provide speedy solutions.

Rigorous chemical reactions tests for transformational impact

It should be noted that when processing exothermic chemical reactions including thermally unstable substances and mixtures the hazard comes from pressure generation. Pressure can be generated in a closed vessel (or inadequately vented vessel) from:

  • Permanent gas generation e.g. generation of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. from the desired process or an unexpected event.
  • Vapor pressure effects caused by heating, possibly arising from an exothermic reaction or a process failure condition, thus raising a mixture above its boiling point.

These modes of pressure generation can arise from the desired reaction, a significant side reaction, or a secondary decomposition reaction. Identification of how pressure generation occurs is critically important for ensuring safety.

Beginning with a technical review, our chemical reaction hazard testing takes stock of existing processes and develops new ones. Our process safety specialists conduct laboratory reaction studies, carry out tests under reflux and at elevated pressures and perform factorial experimental designs. True to our dedication to protecting human life, the community, and the business, we assess safety and environmental implications of process changes. Finally, adapting solutions to fit your needs, we make practical and economical recommendations for improving your processes.

We provide specialist expertise, experience, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to make reactive chemical testing worthwhile. Our specialist capabilities include -- but are not limited to -- screening evaluation, adiabatic Dewar calorimetry, reaction calorimetry using a Mettler RC1, Accelerated Rate Calorimetry (ARC), Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), Vent Sizing Package 2 (VSP2™), and Carius tube with end gas analysis.

Contact us to learn more about our services and methods!

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