Deconstructing Runaway Reactions Using Dynamic Modelling

The Importance of Understanding Inhibitor Effectiveness for Process Safety

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ioMosaic presents a case study on a vapor leak involving a polymerization runaway reaction in May 2020 at an industrial facility in India, sadly leading to several deaths and several hundred injuries. We developed a dynamic model of the incident, which evaluated the effectiveness of monomer inhibitors. We used our model to deconstruct the potential causes that we then compared with actual incident reports. Our article concludes that mixing can lead to hot thermally stratified layers and hence poor cooling in monomer storage tanks, where inhibitor is not mixed effectively to suppress the polymerization reaction. These factors were all found to have contributed to the incident.

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The Chemical Engineer Magazine published the article, Deconstructing Runaway Reactions Using Dynamic Modelling, by James Close, John Barker and Georges A. Melhem, Ph.D., FAIChE in their April 2021 edition. Read the full article now.