(54e) Teaching Process Safety with Simulink Simulations of Runaway Reactions | AIChE

(54e) Teaching Process Safety with Simulink Simulations of Runaway Reactions


Gopinath, A., MathWorks
Gonuguntla, S., MathWorks
A typical process safety course curriculum covers topics such as toxicology, industrial hygiene, chemical reactivity hazards, fires and explosions, relief systems, hazard and risk analysis, and regulations. Typical calculations include critical pressure and flow calculations for compressible fluids and safe distance calculations from overpressure development.

To make process safety concepts more interactive and engaging, we developed a Simulink simulation of a runaway reaction. Simulink is a widely used tool in the industry for designing, and testing safety-critical control systems before automatically generating code and deploying it into the physical platform. In Simulink, systems can be represented as graphical and functional blocks, and dynamic systems can be simulated. Many chemical engineering instructors use Simulink in their process control courses.

This simulation allows students to change various process parameters in the runaway reaction. Students observe the reactor temperature and conversion in the reactor over time to identify the runaway reaction. Later, we add a temperature controller to the simulation to demonstrate the importance of process control and process simulation for process safety. This course material could be used as a part of process safety, reaction kinetics, chemical engineering laboratory, or process control courses.