Chemical safety
DEKRA Advisory & Training

Optimize process safety? Discover what our DEKRA experts can do for you.

Chemical Reaction Hazard Testing

Uncompromising safety standards and chemical process optimization

The consequences of runaway exothermic chemical reactions can be devastating. Runaway reactions at Bhopal and Seveso serve to highlight the lasting impression created by such events and the indelible smudge on the reputation of the operating companies involved. When working with any manufacturing process it is always necessary to establish the hazards associated with its operation.

When working with any manufacturing process it is always necessary to identify the hazards associated with its operation. The understanding of chemical reactions and material reactivity is a critical element of safe processing as exothermic chemical processes are abundant in manufacturing processes. Often these reactions are inherent in the transformation we are undertaking (e.g. the conversion of styrene to polystyrene) – on other occasions these may be unintended reactions which are not part of our processing plan (e.g. decomposition of a material due to contamination or over-temperature exposure).
The identification, assessment, and characterisation of both intended and, more importantly, unintended exothermic reactions, are critical for ensuring the safe scale-up and operation of a chemical process. This often involves the employment of a strategy to assess reaction hazards and thermally unstable substances to most foreseeable plant situations. With our preventive methodology we help you operate chemical processes with increased safety and quality.

Your Benefits

  • A state-of-the-art laboratory technology
  • Extensive experience in chemical process development and optimization field
  • Cost-effective mechanism assessing chemical reaction hazards
  • Fresh, practical approach to old processes

Our Approach

It should be noted that when processing exothermic chemical reactions including thermally unstable substances and mixtures the hazard comes from pressure generation. Pressure can be generated in a closed vessel (or inadequately vented vessel) from:
  • Permanent gas generation e.g. generation of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. from the desired process or an unexpected event.
  • Vapor pressure effects caused by heating, possibly arising from an exothermic reaction or a process failure condition, thus raising a mixture above its boiling point.
These modes of pressure generation can arise from the desired reaction, a significant side reaction, or a secondary decomposition reaction. Identification of how pressure generation occurs is critically important for ensuring safety.
Beginning with a technical review, our chemical reaction hazard testing takes stock of existing processes and develops new ones. Our specialist capabilities include – but are not limited to – screening evaluation, adiabatic Dewar calorimetry, reaction calorimetry using a Mettler RC1, Accelerated Rate Calorimetry (ARC), Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), Vent Sizing Package 2 (VSP2™), and Carius tube with end gas analysis.


We provide specialist expertise, experience, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to make reactive chemical testing worthwhile.
  • We are specialists in process safety and carry out laboratory reaction studies, factorial experimental designs and tests under reflux and elevated pressure.
  • We are committed to protecting human life, society and the company and use this focus to assess the effects of process changes on safety and the environment.
  • We adapt solutions to your needs and make practical and economic recommendations to improve your processes.
Background on selected methodologies
Screening Evaluation
The CHETAH program (The ASTM program for Chemical Thermodynamic and Energy Release Evaluation) is a unique tool for predicting both thermochemical properties and certain “reactive chemical hazards” associated with a pure chemical, a mixture of chemicals or a chemical reaction. CHETAH is useful for classifying materials for their ability to decompose with violence, for estimating heats of reaction or combustion, and for predicting lower flammable limits.
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
Carius Tube with End Gas Analysis
Accelerating Rate Calorimeter (ARC)
Reaction Calorimetry (Mettler RC1)
Adiabatic Pressure Dewar Calorimeter
Vent Sizing Package 2 (VSP2™)