Process Development From Reaction Hazards Testing
Chemical reactions, typical of the polymer, resin, fine chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, are frequently exothermic. (1-4) The uncontrolled release of this energy has been the cause of many serious industrial accidents. Another potential hazard is that some of the feeds, products, or intermediates involved in a manufacturing process may be highly unstable and, under the wrong conditions of processing or even storage, could lead to fire and explosion hazards. (5)
Experienced chemists are often aware of potential problems because of their knowledge of the chemical species involved; but frequently this knowledge alone is insufficient to ensure safe operation of the process facilities. It is now widely accepted that the chemist’s experience must be supplemented by bench scale testing, using suitable test procedures, to evaluate all steps in a chemical process for their potential hazard and to test the various feeds, products and intermediates. (6)
Over the last 15 years several calorimeters have been commercially produced to provide much of the data required for hazard evaluation. Adiabatic and the other commonly used calorimetric techniques will be discussed later in this paper. Additionally, an application of calorimetry will be presented that helped explain the circumstances and causes of a chemical processing accident. First, the links between federal legislation standards, product maturity, and required information about potentially hazardous scenarios will be briefly discussed.