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


Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents


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


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


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


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.


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

Chemical Reaction Hazards

Hazards Arise from Pressure

The greatest hazard that threatens process vessels is pressure. It is rare that temperature alone will cause a vessel to fail. Therefore it is critical to identify, and then mitigate or prevent the potential for overpressurization of your vessels.

There are many potential sources of pressure:

Desired Process

Raw Material Desired Reaction Product (Heat / Vapor / Gas)

Undesired Process

Raw Material Desired Reaction Product + Heat Undesired Reaction Undesired Product (Heat / Vapor / Gas)


Raw Material Upset Scenario Undesired Product (Heat / Vapor / Gas)
  • Heat from the desired reaction leading to a secondary reaction or decomposition reaction at elevated temperatures (generating non-condensable gas and/or vapor)
  • Upset conditions (e.g. loss of cooling, excess catalyst, incorrect raw material added etc.) lead to greater or uncontrollable rates of reaction or alternative reactions (generating non-condensable gas and/or vapor)
  • Self-heating or self-reactive substances during shipping or storage that over time can accumulate heat (generating non-condensable gas and/or vapor)
Identifying and Assessing Sources of Overpressure

There are three key steps to take to avoid or appropriately protect against an overpressure situation:

What aspects of my process should I focus my evaluation on?
  • Thermal Screening: quantify heat associated with process chemistry and the thermochemistry of materials involved with the process

How do I run my process safely?
  • Reaction Calorimetry: determine heat and gas removal requirements to control the desired process chemistry

How do I avoid or mitigate the effects of a runaway reaction?
  • Adiabatic Calorimetry: determine the consequences of potential upset scenarios such as failed equipment or improper procedures, and mitigate the consequences by determining appropriate control or safety systems (SIS, SIL, pressure relief, etc.)

Chemical Reaction Hazards

Understanding chemical safety instruments gives an introduction to some of our calorimeters as well as practical uses.

Thermal Screening

In addition to the evaluation of literature data and performing theoretical calculations, small-scale instruments such as the Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) or Advanced Reactive System Screening Tool (ARSST) can be used to quickly thermally screen starting materials, process streams, and products to identify the existence of hazards.

  • Thermal ScreeningIs there thermal decomposition of raw materials, intermediates, products, etc.?
  • Are there exothermic reactions that should be studied more closely?
  • How should this material be stored or shipped?

Reaction Calorimetry

Reaction calorimetry is a tool that is used to understand the equipment or process requirements to perform a chemical process safely. Typical instruments are the RC1 (Mettler Toledo) and the CPA202 (ChemiSens).

  • How much heat does my cooling system need to remove?
  • How large of a scrubber do I need, and what rate of gas generation does it need to handle?
  • What are the temperature dependent kinetics of my reaction?
  • What is my heat of reaction or instantaneous heat flow for a step in my process?
Reaction Calorimetry

Adiabatic Calorimetry

Adiabatic calorimetry is a tool that can simulate large-scale vessels to determine the consequences of a runaway reaction. This can be performed in instruments such as the Vent Sizing Package 2 (VSP2), ARSST, or Accelerating Rate Calorimeter (ARC).

  • Are there secondary or decomposition reactions that begin within the maximum temperature of synthetic reaction (MTSR)?
  • How much non-condensable gas would be generated if I had a runaway reaction?
  • How do I protect my vessel if an upset scenario occurs?
Adiabatic Calorimetry

Relief System Sizing gives introductory guidance to chemically reactive vent sizing using either VSP2 or ARSST data.

FAI is a world leader in chemical process safety.