Brenton Cox
Brenton L. Cox, Ph.D., P.E., CFEI
Senior Engineer
Thermal Sciences
Warrenville

Dr. Cox specializes in the investigation and analysis of incidents involving fires, explosions, and chemical releases. These investigations have involved reactive chemicals, agricultural commodities, hazardous waste, and consumer products. He has investigated the origin and cause of fires and explosions in industrial, agricultural, commercial and residential settings. As part of his project work, he has examined loss-of-containment events, often involving unintended chemistry, through the development, adaptation, and application of computer models. These models have been used for cause evaluation, source term characterization, and risk analysis. Dr. Cox consults on issues associated with process safety management and is active in the chemical process safety community. He is a trained process hazard analysis (PHA) facilitator whose consulting services have involved hazard identification (HAZID), checklist, what-if, hazard and operability (HAZOP) studies, quantitative risk assessment (QRA), failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), and consequence modeling. He has also been trained in advanced emergency relief design through a course developed by the Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems (DIERS), of which he is a member.

Dr. Cox frequently participates in process safety conferences, presenting papers on process safety and loss prevention, chairing sessions, and serving in various other leadership roles. He is currently vice chair of the Process Safety Management Mentoring (PSM2) symposium, to be held at the 14th Global Congress on Process Safety in 2018, and will chair the symposium in 2019. He is on the programming committee for the 2018 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Midwest Regional Conference and chaired of the Process Safety and Occupational Health committee in 2017. He also presented at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Hazards 27 conference in 2017, in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

In both 2016 and 2017, Dr. Cox and a colleague taught a day long course on incident and near miss investigation at the Global Congress on Process Safety. The course was based on the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) book Guidelines for Investigating Chemical Process Incidents, and was attended by 20 to 25 students each year. He was also involved in the development of a week-long course on incident investigation. Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Cox taught a summer course on heat and mass transfer at Cornell University.

Dr. Cox's doctoral thesis examined the process dynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics of a single-stage metal casting process. The focus of his research was the prediction and control of process instabilities affecting material thickness. This study included lab-scale casting of various aluminum alloys and theoretical modeling of transport phenomena and interfacial stability. Prior to his thesis research, Dr. Cox assisted in studies of bacterial growth kinetics, the mechanics of powder flow, and the use of siloxane polymer coatings on wine corks. His laboratory experience includes metal casting, bench-scale biological reactor design and operation, and the use of a variety of analytical equipment, including high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), fluorescent/ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy, and optical profilometry. He has captured and analyzed high-speed images at rates up to 50,000 frames-per-second. Dr. Cox also has experience operating mathematical and process design software, such as Matlab, Mathematica, HYSYS, and PHAST.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 2011
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, 2005, magna cum laude
  • Alternate Member: Technical Committee on NFPA 214: Standard on Water-Cooling Towers, National Fire Protection Association (effective October 2012)

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062-066182

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI) National Certification Board per NFPA 921 Section 13.6.5.

Publications

Cox, BL, Garner, SW, Carpenter, AR, Fecke, MT. Hazards inherent to control systems: Case studies and lessons learned. Process Safety Progress 2017, 36: 273–279.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA. Development of a slip hazard: partially wetted floors and film formation. Materials Performance and Characterization 2016; 5(1): 272-287.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Hart RJ, Farina R, Morrison DR. Effects of cooking on the thermal ignition behavior of vegetable oil. Proceedings, 2015 Fire and Materials Conference, San Francisco, CA, Interscience Communications Limited, London, February 2015, pp. 889-904.

Cox BL, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Lessons learned from case studies of hazardous waste/chemical reactivity incidents. Process Safety Progress 2014; 33(4):395-398.Cox BL, Dee SJ, Hart RJ, Morrison DR. Development of a steel component combustion model for fires involving pure oxygen systems. Process Safety Progress 2014; 33(3):299-304.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle, RA. Using near misses to improve risk management decisions. Process Safety Progress 2013; 32(4):322-327.

Cox BL, Steen PH. 'Herringbone' defect formation in planar-flow melt spinning. Journal of Materials Processing Technology 2013; 213(10):1743-1752.

Cox BL. Operating rooms as wet/dry locations risk assessment. Report for the Fire Protection Research Foundation, August 2012.

Cox BL, Steen PH. Finite-amplitude dynamics of coupled cylindrical menisci. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2011; 362(1):215-220.

Conference Proceedings and Presentations

Garner S, Cox B, Bobbitt B, Parrish B, Ogle R. Managing the chemical reactivity hazards associated with hazardous waste. Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK), Hazards 27, Birmingham, UK, May 10-12, 2017.

Garner S, Cox B, Bishop J, Fecke M. Electrical Area Zoning: Its role in a risk-based process safety program for combustible dusts. Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK), Hazards 27, Birmingham, UK, May 10-12, 2017.

Morrison DR, Cox BL. Investigating chemical process incidents & near misses, Short Course. 13th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, Texas, March 26, 2017.

Cox BL, Dee SJ, Ogle RA. When the fail open valve fails closed: lessons from investigating the "impossible." American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2017 Spring National meeting, 13th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, March 26-29, 2017. 

Fecke M, Garner S, Cox B. Review of global regulations for anhydrous ammonia production, use, and storage. Institution of Chemical Engineers, Proceedings of Hazards 26, 2016.

Cox BL, Garner SW, Carpenter AR, Fecke M. Hazards inherent to control systems: case studies and lessons learned. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2016 Spring National Meeting, 12th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, April 10-14, 2016.

Morrison DR, Cox B. Investigating chemical process incidents & near misses, Short Course. 12th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, Texas, April 10, 2016.

Morrison, DR, Kumar V, Dee SJ, Cox BL, Al-Shamary M, Al-Qabandi A. Fire from the cascading failure of an oxygen supply system. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2015 Spring National Meeting, 11th Global Congress on Process Safety, Austin, TX, April 27–April 29, 2015.

Cox BL, Dee SJ, Carpenter, AR, Ogle RA. Hazards inherent to batch processing: Lessons learned from case studies. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2015 Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 13-14, 2015

Ogle RA, Cox BL, Dee SJ. Scaling analysis for confined dust flame propagation. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2015 Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 13-14, 2015

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA. Ignition of flammable vapors in partially filled containers. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2015 Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 13-14, 2015.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Hart RJ, Farina R, Morrison DR. Effects of cooking on the thermal ignition behavior of vegetable oil. 14th International Conference, Fire and Materials, San Francisco, CA, February 2-4, 2015.

Cox BL, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Overlooking hazards in hazardous waste: lessons learned from case studies of hazardous waste/chemical reactivity incidents. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2014 Spring National Meeting, 48th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, New Orleans, LA, March 30-April 3, 2014. 

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA. Process safety in the classroom: the current state of chemical engineering programs at US universities. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2014 Spring National Meeting, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 30-April 3, 2014. 

Ogle RA, Carpenter RA, Dee SJ, Cox BL. Inherently safer design: lessons learned about the principle of simplification. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2014 Spring National Meeting, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 30-April 3, 2014. 

Cox BL, Dee SJ, Hart RJ, Morrison DR. Development of a steel component combustion model for fires involving pure oxygen systems. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 47th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, San Antonio, TX, April 28-May 2, 2013.

Viz MJ, Ogle RA, Dee SJ, Cox BL. Hydrogen sulfide exposure from molten sulfur — A Forgotten Hazard? American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 28-May 2, 2013.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA. Using near misses to improve risk management decisions. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 28th Center for Chemical Process Safety International Conference, San Antonio, TX, April 28-May 2, 2013.

Cox BL, Steen PH. High-frequency casting-defects in planar-flow melt spinning. Thousand Islands Fluid Dynamics Meeting, Gananoque, ON, Canada, 2010.

Cox BL, Steen PH. Capillary oscillations and periodic defect formation in planar-flow spin casting of molten metal. American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics 62nd Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, 2009.

Cox BL, Steen PH. Finite-amplitude dynamics of coupled cylindrical menisci. American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics 61st Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 2008.

Cox BL, Steen PH. Dynamics of coupled liquid menisci. Thousand Islands Fluid Dynamics Meeting, Gananoque, ON, Canada, 2007.

Cox BL, Steen PH. Volume scavenging in multi-element capillary droplet systems. Thousand Islands Fluid Dynamics Meeting, Gananoque, ON, Canada, 2006. 

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Chemical Engineers—AIChE (member)

National Association of Fire Investigators—NAFI (member)

National Fire Protection Association—NFPA (member)

Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems—DIERS (member)

Knowledge

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 2011
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, 2005, magna cum laude
  • Alternate Member: Technical Committee on NFPA 214: Standard on Water-Cooling Towers, National Fire Protection Association (effective October 2012)

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062-066182

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI) National Certification Board per NFPA 921 Section 13.6.5.