Scale-up accident


Scale-up accident

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


A reaction was increased in scale from 1 g to 10 g and the reaction mixture was not fully neutralized before beginning extraction in a separatory funnel. During extraction, pressure built up and the reaction mixture ended up all over the researcher and parts of the lab. Fortunately the researcher was wearing proper PPE. The reaction mixture also contained formaldehyde which created an inhalation hazard. Cleanup was done while wearing a respirator.


Review best practices for using separatory funnels

Fully neutralize acidic mixtures before adding to the funnel

Fill less than half full.

Vent from the stopper end (not the stopcock) toward the back of a hood.

For more tips see

When scaling up reactions ensure that all concentrations remain the same, prepare for greater temperature and pressure changes and rates of reaction.