Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 763–771 | Cite as

Thermal hazard studies on aqueous ethylene oxide solution using DSC, VSP2, and the pressure-proof TAM IV

  • Xing-Xin Sun
  • Sheng-Hui Qin
  • Wei-Cheng Lin
  • Chi-Min Shu
  • Gang Tao


Ethylene oxide is a most versatile and critical raw chemical and intermediate. However, the strained ring of ethylene oxide is liable to be cleaved, potentially leading to industrial disasters at high temperatures, such as severe explosions, fires, and toxic releases. In this study, nonisothermal, adiabatic, and isothermal tests were performed to determine the inherent properties of aqueous ethylene oxide solution (AEOS) with regard to its safety. Differential scanning calorimetry and vent sizing package 2 were used to investigate its thermal decomposition and pseudo-adiabatic runaway reaction, respectively. Isothermally exothermic behavior was detected by using the thermal activity monitor IV. Kinetic equations were applied to calculate the apparent activation energy of AEOS (at conversion degrees of 10, 11, 12, 13,…, and 90%), with its value in the range 59.6–85.0 kJ mol−1. The Arrhenius method was also used to ascertain the frequency factor. As the conversion degree increased, the apparent activation energy and frequency factor gradually decreased. The flash point of AEOS was tested to determine its fire and explosion hazard potential. From the perspective of proactive loss prevention, these results are salient for the safer thermal handling of AEOS.


Aqueous ethylene oxide solution Pseudo-adiabatic runaway reaction Isothermally exothermic behavior Kinetic equation Fire and explosion hazard potential 

List of symbols


Frequency factor (s−1)


Reactant concentration (mol L−1)


Initial concentration (mol L−1)

\(\left( {{\text{d}}T\,{\text{d}}t} \right)_{\hbox{max} }^{ - 1}\)

Maximum self-heating rate (°C min−1)

\(\left( {{\text{d}}P\,{\text{d}}t} \right)_{\hbox{max} }^{ - 1}\)

Maximum pressure rise rate (psig min−1)


Apparent activation energy/kJ mol−1


Heat of reaction (J g−1)


Reaction rate constant (min−1)


Pseudo-zero-order rate constant (min−1)


Self-heating rate measured at time (t/ °C min−1)


Maximum pressure (psig)


Gas constant/8.314 (J mol−1 K−1)


Exothermic onset temperature (°C)


Final temperature (°C)


Temperature rise from initial to final reaction under the pseudo-adiabatic condition (°C)


Peak temperature (°C)


Isothermal temperature (°C)


Maximum temperature (°C)


Time to maximum rate under isothermal conditions (h)


Peak normalized heat flow (W g−1)


Correlation coefficient/dimensionless


Heating rate (°C min−1)


Order of reaction/dimensionless


Thermal inertia/dimensionless



The authors are indebted to the experimental assistance from the members at Process Safety and Disaster Prevention Laboratory in Taiwan and financial support by Nan Ya Plastics Corporation in Taiwan.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Safety Science and EngineeringNanjing Tech UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of Engineering Science and TechnologyNational Yunlin University of Science and Technology (YunTech)DouliouTaiwan, ROC
  3. 3.Department of Safety, Health, and Environmental EngineeringYunTechDouliouTaiwan, ROC
  4. 4.Center for Process Safety and Industrial Disaster Prevention, School of EngineeringYunTechDouliou, YunlinTaiwan, ROC

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