A nine-minute computer-animated safety video depicting a tragic reactive chemical accident was released by The U.S. Chemical Safety Board. “Runaway: Explosion at T2 Laboratories” video details the December 19, 2007, accident involving a thermal runaway chemical reaction at a small chemical manufacturer, T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, Fla.
The video includes a 3-D computer animation of the sequence of events leading to the runaway reaction and resulting explosion and fire. It is available for viewing and downloading on the CSB's web site as well as the agency's YouTube channel. In addition, free DVDs can be requested by completing the online request form in the Washington, D.C.-based agency's video room on its site.
T2 Laboratories was attempting to produce a batch of the gasoline additive MCMT when the reactor cooling system apparently malfunctioned, perhaps due to a blockage in the water supply piping or a valve failure. As the video shows, the temperature of the material in the reactor rose uncontrollably. The rupture disk burst on the reactor, but it was too late to relieve the pressure. The entire vessel blew apart, killing four workers, including one of the company’s two owners. Four other T2 employees and 28 workers at nearby businesses were also injured.
The CSB’s final report on the accident was approved at a public meeting in Jacksonville on September 15. The Board recommended increased education of undergraduate chemical engineers on reactive chemistry hazards.