Journal of hazardous materials

Study of condition-dependent decomposition reactions; Part I. The thermal behaviour and decomposition of 2-nitrobenzoyl chloride.

PMID 15518968


The risks associated with batch processing in the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals via highly exothermic reactions are of special interest due to the possibility of runaway reactions. o-Nitrated benzoyl chlorides are intermediates in the production of agrochemicals and are produced via the reaction of o-nitrated carboxylic acids with thionyl chloride in a solvent mixture. ortho-Nitrated acyl chlorides have exploded violently on attempted distillation on numerous occasions. An inadequate investigation of the process prior to large-scale operation is the most likely cause. Here we present preliminary results of studies on the decomposition of 2-nitrobenzoyl chloride. This study has revealed that the decomposition reaction is strongly condition dependent. The heating rate of the sample plays a preponderant role in the course of the decomposition reaction. That renders the interpretation of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) or adiabatic calorimetry measurements, which are routinely used to assess the thermochemistry and safety of the large-scale reactions, problematic. Following this on-going study, we report here key features of the system that have been identified.