Gas & Vapour Explosions

Almost every industrial company is involved in the handling of flammable solvents and gases. The unexpected ignition of these materials is not uncommon and the consequences often have significant ramifications for the success of a company.

The understanding of the hazardous properties of materials under processing conditions is a prerequisite for safety evaluation. Literature values may be available for standard properties of liquids, gases and vapours but even these may not be adequate if your processing environment involves mixture or blends, reactive systems or  elevated temperatures or pressures.

Operating an industrial facility free from fire and explosion hazards requires a strategic assessment procedure including the following areas:

  • Characterise the hazardous properties of all materials used with due regard to the conditions of use
  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify hazardous areas and potential ignition sources
  • Implement safety systems such that fire and explosion hazards are either eliminated or controlled.

Critical to fulfilling this strategic assessment and having an effective Basis of Safety with an industrial process is ensuring an operating company has a full understanding of the flammability characteristics of all combustible materials used. This will not only be for liquids gases and vapours but combustible dusts. 

How Can Chilworth Help

We provide a comprehensive service for all stages of fire and explosion hazard evaluation. We offer independent Consultancy advice carrying out fire and explosion hazard and risk assessments in order to identify potentially hazardous materials and determine if these need to be experimentally characterised.

If they do, our GLP and ISO 9001-compliant laboratories are equipped with a full range of test apparatus for material characterisation.  As well as a complete complement of British, European and Internationally recognised standard test methods, we offer a wide-range of tests for the evaluation of parameters under "non-standard" conditions (eg. elevated temperature and pressure).

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The range of tests for the characterisation of flammable gases and vapours include: -

  • Autoignition temperature (AIT)
  • Closed-cup flashpoint
  • Upper and lower explosive limits (UEL and LEL)
  • Analysis of gas / vapour explosion severity (Kg and Pmax)
  • Limiting oxygen concentration for combustion (LOC)
  • Gas classification group (MIC)
  • Minimum ignition energy (MIE).
  • Aerosol and foam flammability
  • Flame speed measurements
  • Vapour pressure measurement

Chilworth's laboratories in the UK can handle most liquid and gaseous materials, even if they are toxic, highly corrosive, 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 parameter or identifying a flammability characteristic of liquid, gas or vapour The experience and versatility of our technical staff means that for any given problem, we will endeavour to find the most appropriate and cost effective way of helping you understand the hazards of your specific materials or process. The laboratory facilities are supported by a team of highly experienced process safety specialists who can help our clients interpret and use the data in the context of a manufacturing process.

Our Process Safety Specialists will interpret the data and provide independent consulting advice on explosion prevention and guidance on choice and design of explosion protection systems, be it relief venting, containment, suppression, use of inert gas or isolation techniques.

Talk to a consultant

Dr Stephen Rowe
Dr Stephen Rowe

Managing Director - Process Safety UK 023 8076 0722

The Chilworth Difference


  • Working to ISO9001 & OHSAS 18001 standards, and with formal GLP accreditation for our UK laboratories, you can rely on DEKRA Insight data. No other UK laboratory can offer this level of quality assurance.

Track Record

  • DEKRA Insight staff have cumulatively accrued over 375 years experience in providing tailored and quality Process Safety Data to local and global customers. We are part of the DEKRA group, a global leader in Industrial Safety.

Multiple Facilities

  • DEKRA Insight has four laboratories across three continents covering a wide range of global standards. This guarantees that larger projects can be executed in parallel to offer unrivalled turnaround times.


  • Because DEKRA Insight manufacture and service Process Safety equipment, downtime and delays are exceptional. Our number one priority is our customers‘ needs.

Unrivalled Support

  • Our global team helps you select the appropriate programme for your specific needs, with their intimate knowledge of data interpretation and application to specific plant situations. Support is available in a range of languages worldwide to local and global companies.

Capability & Versatility

  • DEKRA Insight offers the widest range of Process Safety Testing services to numerous global standards, with the ability to handle highly hazardous materials and licences for Controlled Substances. We specialise in tailoring tests to your specific needs.

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Chilworth Testing Capabilities

Chilworth Technology can provide a wide range of laboratory testing services globally. This document details the range of texts we can undertake at our facilities.

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