FEEM Health & Safety Working Group Meeting
Brussels 12 – 13 March 2013
Lab nitration in a different way?
Presentation by Walter Panchyrz
Eurodyn Sprengmittel GmbH in Burbach-Würgendorf/Germany
Lab nitration in a different way?
For more than 100 years, customers like to use the good old dynamites for
digging in the ground…,
… and right from the beginning of their use, accidents have happened
forcing the manufacturers to find out what went wrong in the course of
the process and how to protect people from harm.
Alfred Nobel
For more than 100 years, the dynamite manufacturers have implemented
safer processes and have improved their safety standards.
Production of nitro glycol
Nitration control room
Rinse & separation
Nitration control room
Nitro glycol storage
Chemists realized that one major fact to “deal with the fire” is the
purity of raw materials to not run into the risk to open “Pandora’s
box” during the manufacturing process. For example:
Certificate including
proof of cleaning in
Impurities in glycol
from transport
EGDN how it
should look like
(clear and pure)
Drops of grease as a “gift”
from transport company
Blast oil phase how it
looks like in the process
Quality control is mandatory!
Moreover chemists developed clear standards for raw material
quality controls, e.g. glycerin and MEG.
MEG Test Schedule
MEG Work Instructions
Why lab nitration?
Prior to the production process, a lab nitration is undertaken using a small quantity of
MEG or glycerin in order to generate a reaction and to previously
a) discover any side reactions (worst case: fumes, impurities)
b) make sure that the separation of nitration acids and product will proceed in the
production process as required.
Chemical equation for glycol:
(nitric acid)
Schlegel bulb
Quantity: ~ 60 gr
100 years lab nitration without an accident…?
…or sitting on a bomb?
Brain storming about protective measures in the lab
Idea # 1: Same mass, same energy -> protect staff
Let him work in a protected way:
Result (after shock wave > 7000 m/sec):
Blasting site (before)
(wearing a Kevlar fibre
protective vest)
Kevlar fibre (after)
does not work
But idea without benefit!
Blasting site (after)
Brain storming about protective measures in the lab
Idea # 2: New lab equipment, no mass reduction -> run the process automatically
No mass reduction possible, idea without benefit!
Brain storming about protective measures in the lab
Idea # 3: Implement new technology -> use a micro reactor
Micro reactor
An idea with benefit as the same result is
achieved by pre-process testing smaller
quantities at lower risk for lab staff!
Temper bath
The results with only ~ 1 gr mass:
Before stirring
good EGDN
+120 sec
good EGDN
poor EGDN
poor EGDN
The change after implementing the new technology
The benefit: Achieving the same results at a much higher safety standard level!
Another benefit: Improve work safety for our staff…
…and keep authorities happy and smiling!
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