Exothermic chemical reactions carry with them an inherent risk of loss of control with potentially devastating effects on life and the environment.
The understanding of chemical reactions and material reactivity is a critical element of safe chemical processing. Exothermic chemical reactions are performed the world over by companies as part of their normal manufacturing operations. Often such reactions are inherent in the transformation we are undertaking, for example the conversion of styrene to polystyrene – on other occasions however these may be unintended reactions which are not part of the processing plan, for example the decomposition of a material due to contamination or over-temperature exposure arising from an operator mistake or plant failure.
The identification, assessment and characterisation of both intended and, more importantly, unintended exothermic reactions, is critical for ensuring the safe scale-up and operation of a chemical process.
How Chilworth Can Help
We offer independent consultancy advice carrying out chemical reaction hazard assessments in order to identify and quantify potentially hazardous reactions, be they desired or by accident. As part of this we will, if necessary, design an experimental program in order to generate the necessary data to define a Basis of Safety for safe operation. This will include characterisation of the controlled process, that is, running as desired, and identification of credible failure scenarios, or process upset conditions, resulting in a possible runaway reaction and their experimental characterisation.
Characterisation of the controlled process is used to define the control or prevention measures necessary to remain within the envelope of safe working conditions. Data from characterisation of the process upset condition is utilised to help design the protection measure used on the plant. For example high integrity process control systems or emergency pressure relief (DIERS).
In the field of exothermic chemical reactions and thermal runaway, our Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and ISO 9001 compliant laboratories are equipped to measure physical properties of a controlled reaction and measurement of the consequences of loss of control, that is thermal runaway.
Reaction Characterisation and Reagent Thermal Stability
- Predictive thermochemical calculations (CHETAH)
- Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
- Carius tube (with measurement of gases evolved)
- Accelerating rate calorimetry (ARC)
- Reaction Calorimetry using Mettler RC1 including reactions
under pressure and at reflux
- Measurement of gas evolved
- Qualitative analysis of evolved gases using mass
Runaway Characterisation and Emergency Pressure Relief
- Adiabatic Accelerating Rate Calorimetry (ARC) for advanced stability analyses
- ADC II Adiabatic Dewar Calorimetry for runaway reaction simulation and generation of data for vent sizing
- Vent Sizing Package (VSP)Adiabatic Calorimetry for runaway reaction simulation and generation of data for vent sizing
Chilworth's laboratories in the UK can handle most chemical reagents , even if they are toxic, highly potent or a controlled substance and can offer a fast turnaround service if required.
Because we enter into a partnership with our clients, we strive to ensure that only essential testing is undertaken, that our reports are comprehensive and meaningful, and that specialists are on hand to provide expert advice on the interpretation of results Our commitment to customer satisfaction means that we will work with you to tailor our testing and reporting to your specific process safety needs and within budget..
Independent Professional Advice
It doesn’t just stop with measuring a heat of reaction or a rate of gas generation, it is what that data means in the context of a manufacturing process. Our Process Safety Specialists will interpret the data and provide independent consulting advice on safe process operation and guidance on the choice and design of protection measures including emergency pressure relief systems, utilising the Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems (DIERS) methodologies in the evnt of multiphase flow or API 520 for single phase flow events.
Because of our unique capabilities and experience, our laboratories in the UK are not only able to undertake a wide range of tests to internationally recognised standards, but we can also undertake custom projects for testing of materials that may sit more closely with real world activities.
We are here to support all your laboratory testing needs, contact us today for a demonstration of our industry respected, GLP and ISO 9001 accredited service.