- 1.1 The Rate of Reaction, -rA
- 1.2 The General Mole Balance Equation (GMBE)
- 1.3 Batch Reactors (BRs)
- 1.4 Continuous-Flow Reactors
- 1.5 Industrial Reactors
- 1.6 And Now... A Word from Our Sponsor-Safety 1 (AWFOS-S1 Safety)
- CRE Web Site Materials
- Questions, Simulations, and Problems
- Supplementary Reading
1.6 And Now... A Word from Our Sponsor–Safety 1 (AWFOS–S1 Safety)
A note to students: In this sixth edition of Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering, I am including a section at the end of each chapter to bring a greater awareness to process safety. A critical aspect of process safety is “anticipating” what could go wrong in a chemical process and ensuring it won’t go wrong. Equipment and processes involving exothermic chemical reactions are some of the most at risk in a chemical plant. Consequently, each chapter will end with a segment “And Now... A Word From Our Sponsor–Safety” (AWFOS–S). In addition, to highlight process safety across the chemical engineering curriculum, a Web site (http://umich.edu/~safeche/) has been developed that features a safety module specific to every core chemical engineering lecture course plus lab safety. In this chapter, we define process safety along with a very brief discussion on why it is important to study process safety.
1.6.1 What Is Chemical Process Safety?
Chemical process safety is a blend of engineering and management practices focused on preventing accidents, namely explosions, fires, and toxic releases that result in loss of life and property.
1.6.2 Why Study Process Safety?
Figure 1-16 T2 Laboratories (see Chapter 13).
Industrial disasters such as UCIL Bhopal, T2 Laboratories, BP Texas City, and Flixborough have collectively killed and injured thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damage to chemical plants and nearby communities. Accidents such as these occur because chemical engineering processes are some of the most potentially dangerous due to extreme operating conditions and the use of explosive, reactive, and flammable materials. What surprises people is that most of these chemical engineering accidents, such as those listed in the Chemical Safety Board Videos on the companion Web site (http://umich.edu/~safeche/) were preventable. They were the result of poor engineering decisions, made by people who lacked fundamental understanding of basic chemical engineering concepts and chemical engineering safety. Thus, knowing the fundamentals of chemical engineering and process safety may save your life and the lives of innocent people, and prevent the loss of millions of dollars of material and equipment.
Engineers have an ethical and professional obligation to work only in areas for which they are competent and qualified. The best way to prevent future industrial disasters is to understand how to effectively and safely design, operate, and troubleshoot chemical processes. To prepare a prevention plan, we must take the time and effort to understand chemical processes and chemical process safety. To help achieve this understanding, the last section of every chapter has a tutorial, AWFOS–S, that can help you prevent accidents.
A comparison of process safety and personal safety is very succinctly given on the Web site (http://www.energysafetycanada.com/files/pdf/Personal_vs_Process_Safety_v3.pdf).