Modelling spills of water-reactive chemicals

Helen A. Cruse, Jonathan E H Buston, Luc Vechot, Graham A. Tickle, Ralph Rowlands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes part of a programme of work undertaken at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to investigate the behaviour of selected water-reactive chemicals. Following an accidental release, such substances react exothermically with any water present, generating acidic vapours. The STAWaRS (Source Term Assessment of Water Reactive Substances) software was developed for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by ESR Technology to model this complex process. The aims of the study described here were to provide experimental validation of the heats of hydrolysis used within STAWaRS, and to perform sensitivity studies on selected STAWaRS input parameters. The heat of hydrolysis of acetyl chloride was measured and showed good correlation with the value used within STAWaRS. Some of the variables that influence the severity of acetyl chloride spills are examined, with reference to predictions made by the STAWaRS model. The heats of hydrolysis of titanium tetrachloride previously measured at HSL are also discussed, and the effect of adopting these experimentally derived values for modelling spills is shown for a hypothetical land use planning case. This study demonstrates the importance of using experimentally validated values for STAWaRS input parameters. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Acetyl chloride
  • Consequence modelling
  • Land use planning
  • Spill
  • Titanium tetrachloride
  • Water-reactive chemical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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