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Storage for Organic Peroxides
Organic peroxides pose a high risk of danger because they decompose under the influence of temperature or the effects of a catalyst. To minimise the risk when storing organic peroxides, DENIOS offers specific solutions for storage class 5.2: peroxide stores are fire-resistant, equipped with air-conditioning technology, temperature monitoring and a pressure relief device (see equipment). All built-in electrical equipment is explosion-proof and CE certified. The spill pallet of a peroxide store is made from steel with a plastic inliner (PE) or is made from stainless steel, in order to guarantee resistance to aggressive peroxides.
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Learn How to safely handle and store organic peroxides.
There are some industries that rely heavily on organic peroxides in their processes. The plastics and rubber industries, for example, use organic peroxides in accelerators, activators, catalysts, curing agents, hardeners, initiators and promoters. Organic peroxides pose a severe fire and explosion risk. The storage, handling and transportation of them should all be done with the highest levels of protection and care. Use our guide to safe storage and handling of organic peroxides to ensure you are keeping to the recommended guidelines.
Organic peroxides are unstable chemical compounds that decompose at relatively low temperatures. They are reactive, combustible and thermally unstable. Furthermore, they have oxidising characteristics that will react, often violently, with organic matter. If the proper procedures and precautions are followed they can be handled and stored in as safe a way as possible.
Safe organic peroxide storage needs two important features:
Minimising the possibility of peroxide decomposition
Reducing the effects of this decomposition
Limiting peroxide decomposition can be achieved by reducing exposure to heat and also by preventing contamination. Temperature control and separation of materials is key to this.
Self Accelerating Decomposition Temperature (SADT)
Every packaged organic peroxide has a particular temperature over which exothermic runaway decomposition will occur. This is known as the self accelerating decomposition temperature (SADT). Refer to the SADT table on page 5 of the HSE Guidance Note CS21
Key storage recommendations for organic peroxides
We’ve taken a summary from the HSE Guidance Note CS21 for you to refer to here:
Keep in original containers
Hold within the predetermined temperature limits
Keep in dedicated stores
Prevent contact/contamination with other materials such as acids, alkalis, amines, accelerators, combustible materials, metals, reducing agents etc.
Minimise the quantity at the workplace so that no more is present than is necessary for the job in hand.
The location and type of storage will depend upon the quantities of organic peroxide to be stored and its flammability type. Advice on the flammability types of these substances can be obtained from the HSE.
Many organic peroxides will need specific refrigeration conditions for their storage.
3 factors to consider for the storage environment of organic peroxides
Contamination can accelerate the decomposition of organic peroxides. Many heavy metal compounds have an accelerating effect on decomposition. Acids, bases and accelerators may cause decomposition to occur at lower temperatures than the recommended storage temperature. Thus organic peroxides must be stored separately from other chemical compounds, unless compatibility is proven.
Flammability and burning properties
Most organic peroxides are considered highly combustible and once ignited burn vigorously. When heated to their decomposition temperature they product vapours, which are themselves also flammable. Equipment, tools and electrical equipment in the vicinity should be explosion proof and suitable for EX zones. However, auto-ignition can still occur, so fire-fighting equipment should be present in all storage rooms.
Organic peroxides produce vapours as they decompose, this leads to a build up of pressure within the packaging. To overcome the problem of an excessive rise in pressure, due to the prolonged decomposition and bursting of packages, the storage room should have a pressure relief mechanism.
Checklist for storing organic peroxides
Storage should be:
Appropriate for the quantities to be stored
Well ventilated to disperse vapours from any spills or leaks
Away from direct sources of heat, including direct sunlight
Away from combustible material such as paper or wood
Kept at a controlled temperature, always within the recommended range as specified by the manufacturer and/or supplier.
Some organic peroxides need some form of heating in particular circumstances, heating can be provided by thermostatically-controlled warm air (indirect) and water radiators.
Storage containers and facilities should be constructed of non-flammable material. The exact specifications will depend upon location, quantities and type of organic peroxide to be stored.
Kept well away from sources of ignition, such as hot surfaces, sparks or open flames. Tools and equipment in the vicinity should be EX.
Access and exit routes should not be hindered and should be kept accessible at all times.
With clear, specific signage appropriate for substances stored. Labelling should be on individual packaging, on the storage container and, where larger quantities are stored, in the vicinity of the storage area. Signage should also include a ‘No Smoking’ sign.
Adhering to the required minimum separation distances
With correct and sufficient fire-fighting equipment within immediate access
Supplied with suitable spill and leak control equipment and clean-up materials
The quantities stored and used within the workplace should be as small as possible.
All containers and equipment that comes into contact with organic peroxides must be in good working order and made of a compatible material, this includes glass, porcelain, polyethylene and 316 grade stainless steel. DENIOS UK offer a wide range of containers that are suitable for hazardous substances.
Dispensing organic peroxides
If a quantity of organic peroxide is needed that requires transferring into a smaller container size, then a separate, designated area or room should be provided. This zone should be kept free of all incompatible and combustible materials. All dispensing of liquid peroxides should be done over an appropriate spill tray. This tray should be capable of holding the entire contents of the peroxide container. The container into which the peroxide is transferred should not introduce a level of confinement over and above that provided by the supplying container.
Specifically dedicated and clean dispensers or pumps should be used. The advice of the manufacturer and / or supplier of the organic peroxide should be followed with regard to suitable equipment.
Pumps should be given particular attention when used for handling organic peroxides. Care should be taken as they may introduce frictional heating, over-pressurisation or static generation to the storage and handling environment, which can be problematic.
Containing and managing spills of organic peroxides
It is important that the correct absorbent materials are within quick and easy reach and they should be kept close to storage, dispensing and handling areas. Absorbent materials should be of inert materials such as vermiculite, kieselguhr or sand. Combustible materials such as paper, rags or sawdust should not be used.
It is important that all absorbent materials that have been contaminated with the peroxide liquid are disposed of according to the manufacturer or supplier instructions. The contaminated materials should not be confined, nor should they be allowed to contaminate any drainage or water systems.