Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type



Chemical Engineering

Director of Thesis

Dr. Thomas Stanford

First Reader

Dr. Vincent Van Brunt

Second Reader

Dr. Vincent Van Brunt


The purpose of this work was to evaluate potential hazards and failures as part of the design and economic analysis for a chemical plant that would produce 150,000 tons of ethylene oxide per year. The Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) method of analysis was used to accomplish this goal. This method of hazard analysis involves brainstorming potential errors in a system by examining each element of each process unit in full detail. This project was focused on the reactor unit because the reactor has several important parameters that could fail, resulting in safety issues within the system. Input for this analysis was received from the other members of the process team: Justin Brown, Alyssa Matarazzo, and Kyle Tynan as well as faculty mentors Dr. Thomas Stanford and Dr. Vincent Van Brunt. Through this analysis, many areas of concern for plant safety were found such as the ratio of hydrocarbon to oxygen causing an explosion hazard in the reactor, and the buildup of pressure in the reactor causing equipment failure. Additionally, safety precautions have been suggested such as adding a pressure relief system to the reactor, implementing controls on process parameters such as temperature and pressure, and writing emergency shutdown procedures in the case of system malfunction. These safety precautions are important for protecting the employees of the plant and the surrounding community.

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© 2019, Samantha Ciricillo