Reaction calorimetry is a fundamental technique employed in chemical engineering and research laboratories to study the heat released or absorbed during chemical reactions. This analytical method provides critical insights into the thermodynamics of reactions, aiding in the understanding of reaction kinetics, safety assessments, and process optimization. By measuring heat flow, reaction calorimetry enables researchers to characterize the energetics of chemical transformations.

Principle of Operation

A reaction calorimeter (RC) aims to replicate the real operating conditions of a plant during a reaction. It can be operated in either the isothermal mode or the temperature programmed mode. An RC must be capable of performing the same functions as an industrial stirred tank reactor, such as controlled addition of reactants, refluxing, distillation, etc., while also monitoring the associated thermal phenomena. RCs are extensively used for safety analysis, process development, and scale-up studies of various reactions.

Data Interpretation

Several graphs are provided, showing temperature, heat flow, pressure/gas generation versus time. The area under the calibration curves is compared to the area under the reaction curve to determine the heat output of the reaction. This is then converted to the heat of reaction by dividing it by the amount of the limiting reagent present. Any observed exothermic activity after the feeding stops is due to the continued reaction of the accumulated reactants. A quantitative assessment is provided to determine the extent of accumulation, expressed as a percentage. Any physical changes during the test, such as color or viscosity, are also recorded. The adiabatic temperature rise is calculated using an experimentally derived heat capacity value, but does not take into account the possible presence of secondary or side reactions at elevated temperatures.

In summary, you may obtain:

  • Reaction heat of the intended reaction.
  • Adiabatic temperature rise of the intended reaction.
  • Accumulation level of the unreacted reactant.
  • power output vs. time.
  • Physical property changes such as viscosity.
  • Gas generation using accessory.

Intermediate generation or disappearance using accessory such as FTIR detector.

Why perform RC test?

Performing reaction calorimetry tests in process safety is crucial in understanding the heat generation and potential hazards associated with the intended chemical reactions. Reaction calorimetry allows for the accurate measurement and characterization of heat release rate and temperature changes during a reaction. By assessing the reaction heat flow, process safety professionals can identify and analyze exothermic reactions that could lead to thermal runaway, uncontrolled reactions, or explosions. Reaction calorimetry tests provide valuable data for the design and optimization of process conditions, assessing the safety of different reaction scenarios, and selecting appropriate control strategies to mitigate the risks. By conducting reaction calorimetry tests, organizations can ensure safer and more efficient process operations, protecting personnel, facilities, and the environment from thermal hazards.

Why use us?

  • We have a team of experts with extensive knowledge and experience in performing reaction calorimetry tests, ensuring accurate and reliable results.
  • Our thorough analysis and interpretation of the results provide valuable insights into the behavior, stability, and potential hazards of your materials, allowing you to make informed decisions.
  • By choosing us, you can save time and resources by outsourcing the complex reaction calorimetry testing to our experienced professionals.
  • We prioritize customer satisfaction, providing efficient and reliable service, comprehensive reports, and recommendations tailored to your specific requirements and objectives.


1. What is reaction calorimetry?

Reaction calorimetry is a technique used to measure the heat generated or consumed during a chemical reaction. It provides valuable information about the thermal behavior and safety hazards of reactions, helping in the optimization of process conditions and the assessment of potential risks.

2. Why is reaction calorimetry important in process safety?

Reaction calorimetry plays a crucial role in process safety by providing insights into the thermal behavior of reactions. It helps to identify and mitigate potential hazards associated with exothermic reactions, such as runaway reactions or thermal explosions. By understanding the heat release and heat transfer during reactions, process engineers can design safer and more efficient processes.

3. How is reaction calorimetry performed?

Reaction calorimetry involves conducting experiments in specialized calorimeters designed to measure heat effects. Typically, reactants are mixed in a calorimeter, and the heat generated or consumed is measured through temperature changes. Data obtained from these experiments can be used to calculate heat transfer coefficients, heat capacity, reaction kinetics, and other parameters relevant to process safety.

4. What are the benefits of using reaction calorimetry in process safety studies?

Using reaction calorimetry in process safety studies provides several advantages. It allows for the early identification of hazardous reactions, facilitates the optimization of reaction conditions to enhance safety, and provides data necessary for the design of safe operating processes.

5. Can reaction calorimetry be used for scale-up purposes?

Yes, reaction calorimetry data can be used for scale-up purposes. By understanding the heat generation or consumption behavior of reactions at a small scale, it is possible to predict and control the thermal behavior when scaling up to larger production volumes. This helps in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the process at different scales, minimizing the risks associated with large-scale reaction.