Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion & reactivity hazards

Flammable Gas & Vapor Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Chemical Reactivity Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify reactive chemical hazards, including the possibility of material incompatibility, instability, and runaway chemical reactions

DIERS Methodology

Design emergency pressure relief systems to mitigate the consequences of unwanted chemical reactivity and account for two-phase flow using the right tools and methods

Deflagrations (Dust/Vapor/Gas)

Properly size pressure relief vents to protect your processes from dust, vapor, and gas explosions

Effluent Handling

Pressure relief sizing is just the first step and it is critical to safety handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

Thermal Stability

Safe storage or processing requires an understanding of the possible hazards associated with sensitivity to variations in temperature

UN-DOT

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Biological

Model transport of airborne virus aerosols to guide safe operations and ventilation upgrades

Radioactive

Model transport of contamination for source term and leak path factor analysis

Fire Analysis

Model transport of heat and smoke for fire analysis

Flammable or Toxic Gas

transport of flammable or toxic gas during a process upset

OSS consulting, adiabatic & reaction calorimetry and consulting

Onsite safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical

Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid flow, electric power systems

Battery Safety

Testing to support safe design of batteries and electrical power backup facilities particularly to satisfy UL9540a ed.4

Hydrogen Safety

Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen

Spent Fuel

Safety analysis for packaging, transport, and storage of spent nuclear fuel

Decommissioning, Decontamination and Remediation (DD&R)

Safety analysis to underpin decommissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials

Laboratory Testing & Software Capabilities

Bespoke testing and modeling services to validate analysis of DD&R processes

Nuclear Overview

Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant.

Severe Accident Analysis and Risk Assessment

Expert analysis of possible risk and consequences from nuclear plant accidents

Thermal Hydraulics

Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions

Environmental Qualification (EQ) and Equipment Survivability (ES)

Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions

Laboratory Testing & Software Capabilities

Testing and modeling services to support resolution of emergent safety issues at a power plant

Adiabatic safety calorimeters (ARSST and VSP2)

Low thermal inertial adiabatic calorimeters specially designed to provide directly scalable data that are critical to safe process design

Other Lab Equipment (DSC/ARC supplies, CPA, C80, Super Stirrer)

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory

FERST

Software for emergency relief system design to ensure safe processing of reactive chemicals, including consideration of two-phase flow and runaway chemical reactions

FATE

Facility modeling software mechanistically tracks transport of heat, gasses, vapors, and aerosols for safety analysis of multi-room facilities

Blog

Our highly experienced team keeps you up-to-date on the latest process safety developments.

Process Safety Newsletter

Stay informed with our quarterly Process Safety Newsletters sharing topical articles and practical advice.

Resources

With over 40 years of industry expertise, we have a wealth of process safety knowledge to share.

Recent Posts

How Proper Chemical Hazard Characterization Impacts Process Safety

Posted by Sara Peters on 04.02.19

By Sara Peters, Customer Outreach & Digital Media Specialist, Fauske & Associates, LLC 

 

flasks chemical process safetyA situation that had the potential to lead to an incident that was recently avoided at a college laboratory serves as a reminder that understanding the hazards associated with chemicals and assuring proper storage and handling is essential to the safety plan for any industry incorporating chemical use, no matter the scale, as regular practice.  It is also a critical part of any material testing plan enlisted to determine critical process parameters to avoid or mitigate unwanted reactivity and identify reactive chemical hazards and thermal instability for storage or transportation.

Visions of the classic high school experiment gone wrong were conjured up by the title of this article; the one where two incompatible liquids are accidentally combined leading to a violent reaction. In this instance however, it wasn’t an erroneous mixture exploding that caused alarm. Instead, an expired solvent, tetrahydrofuran, was found to pose a stability hazard due to the formation of highly explosive peroxides resulting from prolonged storage.  It subsequently had to be removed from the facility by the fire department, police, and a bomb squad.

“This article is interesting, especially to us, for a number of reasons,” explains Ken Kurko, Chief Technology Officer, Fauske and Associates, LLC.  “First of all, I think of the tremendous job that each and every one of our laboratory personnel does at maintaining our chemical inventory.  When chemicals are received for a project that involves testing, each sample is labeled with a project number and the date received and stored in an appropriate location.  All Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are stored in a central location.  A chemical inventory detailing sample identification, quantity, date received, and storage location is kept for all chemicals received.  The inventory is periodically purged as projects are completed.  This procedure helps us avoid these specific types of issues.”

“Secondly," continues Kurko, "the technical aspect of this article is intriguing.  The formation of peroxides within tetrahydrofuran is typically inhibited with BHT.  The problem that arises is that the inhibitor inevitably loses its effectiveness over time.  The interesting part is that we have the ability to study these types of reactivity issues with a combination of calorimetry and data analysis techniques.  A similar issue that comes to mind is the effectiveness of inhibitors at preventing the autopolymerization of monomers during prolonged storage.”

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When using chemicals it is paramount to recognize that each has its own unique characteristics and hazards that need to be considered as part of the safe handling practice.  Some of this information is provided on the chemical’s SDS, including:

  • Toxicity including health hazards & routes of entry
  • Corrosive properties
  • Reactivity with air, water, or moisture
  • Volatility

More specific information regarding the reactivity, flammability, or explosivity of gases, liquids, and solids can be gleaned through testing with a qualified laboratory.  Such a laboratory must have proper administrative and engineering controls in place to ensure proper material handling during storage and at desired test conditions, as well as safe disposal of all reaction and decomposition products that result.

Understanding that chemical process safety affects everyone, the Fauske & Associates, LLC (FAI) team is committed to a culture of safety and happy to assist with your chemical hazard identification and characterization and process safety management needs.

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Topics: process safety, process hazard, chemical

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