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Safety Insight - A Smart Testing Strategy for Reactive Hazard Characterization

Reactive Hazard Characterization

What Reactivity Data is Needed?

The answer to this question varies based on the purpose of the testing. If you have an existing manufacturing process to be evaluated, some DSC testing will likely be performed followed by both reaction calorimetry to characterize the intended reaction and adiabatic calorimetry testing to characterize upset condition scenarios. If you are in a product development stage, a larger number of screening testing may be performed to evaluate and optimize various parameters of the process. The goal with screening tests is to evaluate the thermal stability of all reaction mixtures at each step of the process and identify any unwanted interaction between reagent and solvents. Screening tests will be followed by reaction calorimetry and adiabatic calorimetry as previously mentioned.

The goal of testing is to obtain the rate and quantity of heat and gas generation for desired reactions as well as process deviations that could occur. The key is to ensure that the test is designed properly to provide the relevant information for the scenario to be evaluated.

What Reactivity Data Are Utilized in Safer Process Design?

The following types of reactivity data can be applied for safer process design:

  • Identification of the potential for a runaway reaction or thermal decomposition for the chemistry
  • Understand the energy for the process (heat of reaction) and potential side reactions / decompositions
    • Measure and quantify heat & gas generation for desired reaction and foreseeable process deviations
  • Perform engineering design for heat transfer for the scale-up based on kinetic evaluation and/or adiabatic testing
  • Apply kinetic data to determine safe operating range for applicable system parameters
  • Evaluate the need for control systems and safety back-up systems
    • Include alarms, emergency relief system design, relief device sizing, effluent handling considerations, etc.

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