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Runaway Reactions -- Experimental Characterization and Vent Sizing


Ron Darby (Texas A&M University)


This module is an updated and revised version of the module entitled “A Unit Operations Laboratory Experiment for Runaway Reactions”, published by SACHE in 2001. The title has been changed to reflect the more general utility of the module for education, training and instruction of personnel in industrial, governmental or other laboratories who are concerned with the characterization and sizing of relief vents for runaway reactions, in addition to universities who would like to include this subject matter in lecture and/or laboratory courses concerned with process safety.

The Advanced Reactive Screening Tool (ARSST) is an easy to use and cost effective calorimeter that can be used to quickly and safely identify potential chemical reactivity hazards. It can also yield critical experimental data on the kinetic characteristics of runaway reactions that can be scaled up to full scale process conditions and can be used directly to estimate the size of a relief device that would be required to protect the reactor against the over-pressure that would result from a runaway reaction.

This instruction module describes the ARSST and its operation, and illustrates how this instrument can easily be used to experimentally determine the transient characteristics of runaway reactions, and how the resulting data can be analyzed and utilized to size the relief vent for such systems. It can also be easily incorporated into a Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory as an effective educational laboratory experiment utilizing a practical and physically realistic example reactive system.

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Suggested courses that can use this product

  • Thermodynamics
  • Chemical Reactions/Kinetics
  • Lab
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