A Systematic Approach to Chemical Reactivity Evaluation

Reactive chemicals are materials capable of giving rise to an uncontrolled chemical reaction (a.k.a., a runaway reaction). Reactions with a significant release of heat, gas and/or toxic materials have the potential to cause harm to people, property or the environment. Despite OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard (PSM) and EPA’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulations, accidents with reactive chemicals continue to happen. In their 2002 report, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) identified failure of management systems for reactive chemistry as a key root cause of reactive chemical accidents. Managing reactive chemistry involves a systematic approach. The approach presented here incorporates both screening and experimental steps. As seen in Table 1, it begins with computational assessment, followed by experimental screening and finally, experimental testing.

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