Systematic Analysis of Spontaneously Combustible Substances
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The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze the hazards of spontaneously combustible substances, and to develop a safety index to categorize the hazards of these materials. Furthermore, storage/handling guidelines or hazard assessment strategies are developed based on the analysis. Spontaneously combustible substances include a vast array of materials including pyrophoric substances, shock sensitive substances and self-reactive substances. These materials are capable of ignition at ambient conditions as a result of exposure to the atmosphere or other materials. This analysis is conducted by developing a “Hazard Ranking Score” (HRS) to evaluate and rank the hazards of these types of materials. The HRS is scored out of 100 and is determined by considering multiple properties of the substance in question. The inherent hazard of a substance is determined by considering five parameters: the NFPA rating, the flammability limits, the autoignition temperature, the ionization potential and the heat of combustion. Because spontaneously combustible substances in one form or another are widely used in the industry, an analysis of this type is essential. Initially, a sizeable sample of well-known spontaneously combustible substances is selected, and data related to the parameters listed above is collected. All the parameters listed are individually scored out of 100. The final HRS is determined by a weighted sum of the parameters in consideration. The scores of all the materials in the sample are determined and a histogram of the data is projected. Based on the histogram, a simple statistical analysis is conducted to try and predict the behavior of the HRS for any other materials of this type. The theoretical validation of the HRS index is conducted to evaluate its robustness. An important conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that the HRS can serve as a useful screening tool and can be used instead of or in addition to other safety indices. Finally, the HRS can serve as a basis to determine whether additional analyses need to be conducted.
Proddutoor, Abhishek (2018). Systematic Analysis of Spontaneously Combustible Substances. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from