Setup at MKOPSC:
Our aerosol testing equipment uses both electrosprays and pressurized nozzles to generate aerosols. The droplet size can be easily adjusted to a desired range (within the capability of the equipment) so that the effect of droplet size can be analyzed clearly. Malvern Laser Diffraction Particle Analyzers are used to measure droplet size and concentration by using diffraction techniques and MIE Theory.
The flammability apparatus is composed of a non‐ASTM standard cylindrical reaction vessel, a mixing system, heating unit and digital control system. Compared to typical spherical flammability equipment ‐ like 20L spheres ‐ the cylindrical vessel is better at monitoring the upward flame propagation during the combustion process. During tests, temperature changes and pressure readings are recorded by thermocouples and pressure sensors located along the length of the cylindrical vessel to determine if the gas mixtures are flammable or not. Currently, flammability experiments are conducted at the initial temperature ranging from 20 to 300°C and initial pressures from one to three bar.
The 36L dust explosion vessel can determine explosion characteristics of combustible dusts by measuring the pressure‐time profile after ignition. The dust is dispersed by first creating a vacuum inside the vessel and then using air at atmospheric pressure to spray the dust into the vessel. After triggering the chemical igniters, the data acquisition and analysis system records the pressure‐time profile and rate of pressure rise. By conducting experiments under different conditions the equipment can be used to determine parameters like minimum explosible concentration (MEC), limiting oxygen concentration (LOC), explosion development parameters (Pmax, Kst), etc.
The RSST (reactive system screening tool) is a comparatively simple and inexpensive calorimeter that quickly and safely determines potential chemical hazards. The RSST measures the rate of temperature and pressure rise to determine reliably energy and gas release rates. The data can be combined with simplified methods to assess reactor system safety relief requirements
This lab-scale high expansion foam generator has been developed to allow the study of a cryogenic, flammable liquid, such as LNG that poses a threat to individuals in the area of the release as well as to responders who attempt to limit the damage of the release. Additionally, this novel foam generator design addresses many of the drawbacks of industrial-scale foam generators and allows researchers better control of the foam, while producing foam at rates that are conducive to lab applications. Foam was produced using the generator and expansion ratio and foam stability were measured to determine the quality. The foam generator can also be used with other types of non-firefighting foam, such as decontamination foam for chemical, biological, or nuclear decontamination.
The APTAC (Automatic pressure-tracking adiabatic calorimeter) is a closed cell calorimeter that allows testing of chemical reactivity under different scenarios. It provides actual temperature and pressure data that can be used in kinetic studies, measurement of physical properties of complex mixtures, and safety studies. This calorimeter uses sample cells of different materials including glass, stainless steel, and titanium. The distinctive characteristic of the APTAC is its ability to follow the pressure inside the test cell, which permits the use of very thin walls. The APTAC is one of only 10 such instruments in the United States.
GC-MS (Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry) is an analytical method that combines the features of gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify different substances within a test sample. Applications of GC-MS include drug detection, fire investigation, environmental analysis, explosives investigation, and identification of unknown samples. The MKOPSC center has two modern state-of-the-art GC-MS for carrying out compositional analysis.
The reaction calorimeter (RC1) is used to conduct kinetic studies on industrially important reactions. The contents in the reactor can be heated or cooled by heat‐transfer oil. The calorimeter has a rapid and accurate temperature control that can accomplish heat balancing. Calorimetric data can be used to assess the heating and cooling requirements of the reactor as well as optimum and safe operating conditions for the reaction. The calorimetric data can also be fitted to nth‐order kinetic equations to derive empirical rate equations. The RC1 owned by the center is the only one existed in academia.
The cone calorimeter has recently taken a dominant role in bench-scale fire testing of flammable materials, like wood, fabrics, or polymers. Heat release is the key parameter to assess the burning characteristics of products. With cone calorimeter, the heat release rate is measured with high accuracy. The cone calorimeter can also measure ignitability, mass loss rate, smoke and soot production, which can be used to comprehensively assess the reaction-to-fire performance of products. Besides that, the results from cone calorimeter test can be used for fire modeling, predication of real fire behavior, ranking of products by performance, and pass/fail tests when developing new materials and products. The MKOPSC center has one modern state-of-the-art cone calorimeter for carrying out fire testing.
The limiting oxygen index (LOI) is used to quantify the flammability of organic polymers and composite materials. Using the oxygen index analyzer, the minimum percentage of oxygen needed to sustain flaming combustion is determined as LOI. This single value is considered as a measure of the ease of self-extinguishment of a burning material, which can be used to compare the fire performance of different materials.