MKOPSC receives five new grants

September 11, 2013
| By: Aubrey Bloom

The TEES Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center's research in developing new technologies aimed to prevent and mitigate industrial disasters recently received five new grants, furthering the center's mission of "making safety second nature."

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the center two different grants for its research in the use of nanocomposites as flame-retardants and improved testing methodologies associated with the explosion risks of nanomaterials.

The center is working in collaboration with Assistant Professor Qinsheng Wang from Oklahoma State University to develop nanocomposites that when exposed to fire, char very quickly, creating a physical barrier of new polymers that reduces the original materials flammability.

Understanding the explosion mechanisms of engineered nanomaterials is the focus of the second NSF grant. The center's research looks to establish more reliable testing methodologies to quantify the explosion risks of nanomaterials.

One of two grants the Center received from the Qatar National Research Foundation (QNRF) looks at the hazardous and explosive vapor cloud that quickly forms above a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) spill. The research is a collaboration between the center and Assistant Professor Luc Vechot from the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center at Texas A&M University at Qatar. New research data will come from large-scale experiments carried out at the Ras Laffan Emergency and Safety College at the Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar.

Developing systematic tools for the entire industrial supply chain for Qatar is the objective of the second QNRF grant. Using a life cycle integrated approach, the Center will incorporate safety in the design, operation, and optimization of all aspects of existing processes and applications for industrial cities in Qatar.

The Petroleum Systems Integrity Office (PSIO) from the Alaska Department Of Natural Resources, in response to an ageing petroleum infrastructure and quality assurance concerns created by an increase in the number of new operators, has awarded the MKOPSC a grant to develop new oversight activities and specific standards to help minimize the risks associated with identified challenges. As part of the grant, the center will establish an Offshore Platform Surveillance Program for Alaska State Waters that will focus on addressing oversight issues of different state agencies in order to provide coverage in all relevant areas.

Established in 1995 and headquartered in the Jack E. Brown Engineering Building at Texas A&M University, the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center is dedicated to enhancing safety in the chemical process industry.

The center conducts various educational programs aimed at "making safety second nature" to everyone in the industry. In addition, center researchers work to develop safer processes, equipment, procedures and management strategies to minimize losses.

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