For quite some time, safety considerations have become an essential component of chemical process development, and safety concepts are routinely developed while designing the pilot or large scale process. Industrial associations and federal authorities, such as CSB, OSHA (US), HSE (UK), EU-OSHA, EPSC (EU) or IPE and the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) in China, require chemical and pharmaceutical industries to comply with regulations that assure safe production. The directives provided focus on avoiding incidents and accidents in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Risk assessment requires key chemical data that describes the properties of the substances, but also information about the process itself. Among other thermal information, the heat of reaction is an essential parameter that can be used to derive information related to safe processes and to build up process safety knowledge. Building process safety knowledge also means understanding both the desired and possible undesired reactions. While the undesired reaction is primarily concerned with identifying possible side or consecutive reactions that may be followed by a runaway reaction, the investigation of the desired reaction demonstrates how the reaction behaves under normal operating conditions.
The accumulation of starting material, the heat of reaction, the enthalpy of reaction and the specific heat are some of the key parameters necessary to create cooling failure scenarios of the desired reaction. However, more advanced studies, such as the evaluation of worst case scenarios, criticality class or the criticality matrix, use the information from the heat of reaction to the same extent.