Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

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Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

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Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
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Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Thermal Stability

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

Adiabatic Calorimetry
Data demonstrate the consequences of process upsets, such as failed equipment or improper procedures, and guide mitigation strategies including Emergency Relief System (ERS) design
Reaction Calorimetry
Data yield heat and gas removal requirements to control the desired process chemistry
Battery Safety

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

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Cable Testing
Evaluate electrical cables to demonstrate reliability and identify defects or degradation
Equipment Qualification (EQ)
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Water Hammer
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent unwanted hydraulic pressure transients in process piping
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Identify and eliminate potential sources of unwanted vibration in piping and structural systems
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Analysis and testing to identify and prevent intrusion of gas or air in piping systems
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Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the field of Testing

ISO 9001:2015
Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO 9001:2015
Dust Hazards Analysis
Evaluate your process to identify combustible dust hazards and perform dust explosion testing
On-Site Risk Management
On-site safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up
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 safely handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

FATE™ & Facility Modeling

FATE (Facility Flow, Aerosol, Thermal, and Explosion) is a flexible, fast-running code developed and maintained by Fauske and Associates under an ASME NQA-1 compliant QA program.

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical
Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid, flow, and electric power systems
Hydrogen Safety
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Thermal Hydraulics
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Nuclear Safety
Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant
Radioactive Waste
Safety analysis to underpin decomissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials
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 and Parts for the DSC/ARC/ARSST/VSP2 Calorimeters

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory


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


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


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Recent Posts

Safer Scale-up of Batch and Semi-Batch Reactions

Posted by Fauske & Associates on 06.06.19

By: Richard Kwasny, Ph.D., Senior Consulting Engineer, Fauske & Associates, LLC (FAI)

Chemical ReactionWe will be publishing four articles on the topic of safer scale-up for batch and semi-batch reactions. This initial article is on desktop reviews and preliminary hazard analysis.

Thermal runaway incidents continue to occur in batch production facilities in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Serious incidents can result in death, injury, capital loss, and business interruptions. Despite the best efforts of the chemical/pharmaceutical industries to be responsible, major incidents cast a negative light on this industry as a whole. In order to prevent incidents from occurring there is a need for all R&D, process development, and batch production facilities to have an effective process safety strategy in place including sound safety-management systems. Prior to scale-up, it is critical to have a clear understanding of the reactivity of all process chemicals as well as the energetics of both desired reaction(s) and undesired reactions, defining worst-case scenarios, characterizing the resulting adverse reaction, and understanding how to mitigate the process safety impact. A partial flowchart detailing these steps is shown in Figure 1. Processes that cannot be adequately controlled must be redesigned if possible or utilize less hazardous material.

 Figure 1 Flowchart of a Preliminary Hazard Assessment

Figure 1 Flowchart of a Preliminary Hazard Assessment

This article attempts to provide guidelines that can be used as a basis for developing and designing safer new processes. It can also be used to identify process safety information gaps when existing processes undergo periodic reviews, as required in part by OSHA Process Safety Management 1910.119, Hazard Communication 1910.1200, and the General Duty Clause.

Causes of Thermal Runaway Reactions

Studies have determined that thermal runaway reactions occur due to the following four reasons:

1. Insufficient understanding of the process chemistry and the energy/kinetics for the desired reactions

2. Improper design of the heat transfer capacity required at the plant level

3. Insufficient understanding of the adverse reaction and controls including plant-safety back-up systems, as well as adequate emergency venting

4. Inadequate written batch procedures and poor operator training.

Never assume a chemical is not hazardous because of a low-hazard rating. Many incidents involve materials that have NFPA hazard ratings of 0 and 1. It is best to develop a proper testing program to identify and characterize all reactive materials and reaction mixtures under a variety of process conditions. If your company does not have a testing facility, FAI will be pleased to work with you to identify and conduct appropriate tests. Subsequently, a process hazard analysis can then be used to assign appropriate controls and safeguards to reduce risk of an adverse event. It is important to remember to update the process safety information, as a process undergoes changes during its lifecycle. The interim process-safety information reports can then serve as a reference for technology-transfer purposes as the process scales from R&D, kilolab, pilot plant to commercial-production stage. Once the process has been set, the final process safety report can then be used by a variety of end users either in-house or by outsource facilities. When developing safety documentation, it is important to keep in mind that it must comply with company policies and procedures as well as country and local regulations.


Desktop Reviews and Screening Tests
The following items should be considered in relation to a process safety hazard evaluation.

  • Decision to Scale-Up
    When management wants to scale-up a chemical reaction in an existing facility, the amount of information available can vary significantly. Therefore, it is essential to review the desired process and inform the organization if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Therefore, there is a need for a preliminary hazard assessment based on a balanced equation of the desired chemistry.

Preliminary Hazard Assessment:
• Develop an inventory of all process materials including but not limited to:
    o Starting and product substrates
    o Reagents
    o Catalyst
    o Solvents
    o By-products
    o Off-gasses
• Identification of material properties, hazards, and other potential problematic issues:
    o Physical properties
    o Health hazards
    o Flammability and static properties
    o Thermal stability of materials including the potential for shock sensitivity and explosion propagation
    o Review the molecular structure of the reaction materials for highly reactive functional groups
    o Conduct preliminary screening testing using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to identify thermal instability in the          starting and final substrates
    o Vapor phase reactivity
    o Material of construction issues (catalytic, corrosion, compatibility, and so forth)
    o Special hazards (oxidizers, pyrophoric, water-reactive, and so forth)
• Methodologies:
    o Conduct a literature search for the above mentioned information and work with production/ process engineers to better
        understand process limitations
    o Estimate the heat of reaction using estimation techniques
    o Quantitate the non-condensable off-gases to estimate volume and rate
    o Interpret the potential hazards with respect to the process temperature and pressure including other critical issues

Initial Evaluation of the Reaction
Once we have all of the above mentioned information, we are in a better position to determine if there are any potential issues that would prevent scale-up.

For example, if the reaction involved a simple crystallization for the formation of a substrate salt with no off-gassing and a calculated adiabatic temperature rise that could be easily controlled through available agitation/heating/cooling of the reaction mass, then probably no additional testing is needed. However, for quality purposes we may need a more quantitative heat balance if there is crash crystallization. Then we could perform reaction calorimetry for this purpose.

There are times when the desired and quench reactions involve reactive functional groups that may become unstable. Therefore, the use of a preliminary hazard analysis will facilitate identification of problematic reactions that under
certain circumstances can be a potential hazard or become one if we lose control of the reaction. There are several ways in which this can occur; one is through a thermal runaway reaction, a fire, or process deviations due to misoperations such as mischarging, and so forth.

Quantification of the Desired Reaction
If we have a potentially problematic reaction then, the next step is to quantify the amount and rate at which heat is generated. Similarly, if there is off-gassing, we would require quantification of the evolved gas rate to ensure the process vent
capacity is adequate.

Therefore, the second article in this series will deal with how to characterize the desired reaction, as needed, based on issues encountered in the preliminary hazard assessment. Subsequent articles will include quantification of the adverse
reaction and case studies.

Part 2: Quantification of the Desired Reaction is out now! Check it out by clicking below.

Continue to Part 2

    1. Hendershot, D. C., “A Checkl ist for Inherently Safer Chemical Reaction
        Process Design and Operation,” Center for Chemical Process Safety
        International Conference and Workshop on Risk and Reliability, 2002.
    2. Kwasny, R. S., “Hazard Assessment Strategies for Reduction Reactions,”
        London Southbank University, UK, 1999.
    3. Barton, J. and Rogers, R., “Chemical Reaction Hazards,” Second edition,
        Gulf Publ ishing, 1997.
    4. Bretherick, L., “Bretherick’s Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards,”
        Seventh edition, Butterworth Heinemann, 2008.
    5. Stoessel, F., “ Thermal Safety of Chemical Processes: Risk Assessment and
        Process Design,” Wiley-VCH , 2008.
    6. Merritt, C. W., 2004. “Chemical Process Safety at a Crossroads,”
        Environmental Health Perspectives, 112:a332-a333. doi:10.
        1289/ ehp.112-a332, 2004.


Topics: Thermal Stability, Reactive Chemicals


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