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Reactivity Screening Made Easy

During the past decade, large efforts were made by the US chemical and petrochemical industries to implement and maintain effective process safety management (PSM) and responsible care programs. Despite these large investments, incidents continue to occur at an alarming frequency. Many executives of leading companies are trying to understand why. A recent survey conducted by the US Chemical and Safety Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) concluded that reactive chemicals present a significant safety problem for the chemical process industries. Key root causes identified by the CSB survey included technical and management systems failures. This underscores the importance of the need to understand and manage chemical reaction hazards more effectively. We also believe that the “quality” of implementation, change management, and auditing of corporate PSM programs is the culprit. We focus in this short paper on incidents caused by runaway reactions and provide guidance on how to improve the “Quality” of managing chemical reactions hazards through a combination of screening and experimental tools. Read more

SADT Determination of Styrene System Using ARC

The United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) and United Nations (UN) have developed a transport systemization based on a classification of certain types of dangerous goods and descriptions of tests and procedures. Dangerous goods are chemical substances, or articles containing chemical substances, which pose a threat to public safety or the environment during transportation if not properly identified or packaged. If they are accidently released, outcomes such as fires or explosions can occur. The purpose of the various tests is to provide adequate protection against the risk to life and property inherent in the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce. Read more

Strategy for Managing Reactivity Hazards

The last few months have witnessed a high degree of focus on understanding and managing chemical reactivity to improve safety in process plants. These efforts have reinforced an important aspect of chemical reactivity, i.e. it is extremely complicated to try and list properties characterizing reactivity hazards. As an example, commercial explosives contain 2000 cal/g or more of energy; however, most of the chemicals involved in incidents in the process industries have energies between 500 and 1500 cal/g. There are therefore a variety of aspects, besides the energy content, that can pose reactivity hazards and recognizing such scenarios is an area of considerable research. The principle objective of this document is to assist readers in understanding, evaluating, and managing reactivity hazards for a particular situation by directing them to appropriate sources and utilizing a tiered evaluation protocol. Read more

The Role of Chemical Reactivity Data in Process Safety Management

Chemical reactivity is addressed throughout the requirements of OSHA’s PSM Standard. It is specifically required in the process safety information element. In addition, it is necessary input to process hazard analysis, operating procedure development, emergency relief system design, and mechanical integrity. As the understanding of the impact of chemical reactivity hazards on the operation of a chemical process continues to develop, it is important to have a method for developing this data. Equally important is a method for extracting meaningful reactivity information from the data and incorporating it into process safety. This paper will present a process for evaluating chemical reactivity hazards using an Accelerating Rate Calorimeter (ARC®). It will then explain how to extract information from this data to help define process safety elements such as safe upper and lower limits, emergency relief system design, etc. Read more

Thermal Stability Indicators

Chemical process hazards cannot be effectively managed if they first cannot be properly identified. This is especially true for reactive chemicals storage, processing, and management. Reaction rates can be significantly influenced by the presence of contaminants, inhibitors, incompatible chemicals, etc. Read more

Understanding NJ TCPA for Effective Reactivity Management

The New Jersey Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA) has recently been amended to cover reactive chemicals and is the only regulation that requires as assessment of reactivity hazards and mitigation of associated risks. The Reactive Chemicals section of this regulation lists specific chemicals and functional groups along with corresponding threshold values that serve as trigger points for conducting reactive hazard assessments. This paper provides a simplified description of the Reactive Chemicals section of TCPA and associated compliance issues. Read more