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Pre-Carius? Carius Tube Testing for Hazardous Materials and Reactions

Posted by The Fauske Team on 09.27.17

By David Dale, Scientific & Medical Products Limited and Jeff Griffin, Fauske & Associates, LLC

FAI Carius TubeThe Carius tube apparatus is an old-school device used to thermally test materials on a small scale. The technology is particularly helpful for understanding potentially hazardous reactions or materials. While other tools like the Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) or Advanced Reactive System Screening Tool (ARSST) are good for screening potentially hazardous reactions and providing more robust data, the Carius tube apparatus still has its place in the process safety assessors armoury.

When we say the device is ‘old-school’ – we mean it. The Carius tube was invented by Georg Ludwig Carius in the late 1800’s. Compare this to other screening / kinetic evaluation tools like the DSC, invented by Watson and O’Neil in 1962, the Accelerating Rate Calorimeter (ARC), invented by scientists from DOW Chemical in the late 1960’s and the ARSST, invented by Fauske & Associates in the early 1980’s.

The Carius tube apparatus works by placing approximately 10 grams of sample in a heavy-walled sealed glass tube and then placing it in an oven. The oven temperature is ramped at a controlled rate, typically 0.5 K/min. Temperature and pressure of the test cell are monitored and recorded in order to assess the thermal stability of a test sample upon heating. Speaking of heat – it is an interesting aside that George Ludwig Carius worked for several years with Richard Bunsen (of Bunsen burner fame).

So, getting back to the task at hand, the Carius tube method is most popular in Europe, where a preponderance of existing data from the device leads companies to perform this test on new samples in order to have a benchmark for reactivity. Like a master carpenter, a full service testing lab will have all of the tools in the shop to help customers solve process safety problems, no matter how simple or complex they may seem.  

If you’d like further information regarding Carius tube testing or other services offered by Fauske & Associates, please contact Dave Dale at or Jeff Griffin at

About the authors:

David Dale, MSc worked for 30 years as a process safety advisor for Pfizer before joining Scientific and Medical Products (SciMed) in 2007. He loves the Carius tube like an old friend.

Jeff Griffin, MBA is Global Director of Business Development and Strategy for Fauske & Associates, LLC. He enjoys obscure history and gets easily lost while browsing Wikipedia.

FAI Process Safety Newsletter

 #thermal hazards

Topics: process safety, thermal stability, ARSST, thermal hazard, nuclear, differential scanning calorimeter, Carius tube


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