Russell Ogle

Russell A. Ogle, Ph.D., P.E., CSP, CFEI, FAIChE

Practice Director & Principal Engineer
Thermal Sciences
Warrenville

Dr. Ogle serves as the Director of Exponent's Thermal Sciences Practice, and he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He applies his expertise as a chemical engineer to the scientific investigation and prevention of accidents. He has over 30 years of industrial experience working in fire, explosion, and chemical safety. Dr. Ogle has investigated hundreds of fires and explosions in industrial, commercial, and residential settings. His expertise includes combustible dust explosions and fires, process safety management, process systems engineering, chemical reactivity hazards, product safety investigations, and environmental losses.

COMBUSTIBLE DUST EXPLOSIONS AND FIRES

Dr. Ogle has a strong interest in combustible dust safety. In 1986 he was awarded one of the first doctorates in the United States based on dust explosion testing using the 20-liter sphere, and he was one of the first investigators to analyze dust explosion data using chemical kinetics and computational fluid dynamics. He has written a book, Dust Explosion Dynamics,which is an introduction to the combustion science of dust explosions and fires. He has also coauthored a book chapter on risk assessment with combustible dust. He has investigated numerous dust explosions and fires across a number of different industries. These investigations have included grain elevators, coal mines, power plants, grain mills, plastic resins, atomized metals, food ingredients, wood processing, and sulfur. His investigation experience includes various kinds of equipment for processing particulate solids including dust filters and cyclones, spray dryers and prilling towers, silos, pneumatic conveying, fluidization, grinding and milling, agglomeration, and screening. Building on the knowledge he has gained from these investigations, he has consulted with clients on various aspects of combustible dust safety such as inerting, bonding and grounding, electrical classification, explosion suppression, and explosion venting.

PROCESS SAFETY MANAGEMENT

Dr. Ogle is Exponent’s representative for the Technical Steering Committee of the Center for Chemical Process Safety, a position he has held for the last ten years. He has investigated dozens of major incidents at petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, polymer plants, ammonia plants, and natural gas facilties (compressor stations and natural gas plants). In these investigations he has been responsible for determining the sequence of events of each incident, exploring the fundamental chemical engineering science driving these incidents, and evaluating the causal factors leading to the occurrence of the incident. Some of these investigations have required failure diagnosis and analysis of process plant equipment including pumps, valves, piping systems, pressure vessels, and process control systems. He has also investigated the detection and management of abnormal operating conditions, the impact of operator responses to process upsets, and the potential role of human error.

Drawing from his diverse accident investigation experience in the chemical process industries, he has provided consulting services in process safety management (PSM) including combustible dust hazard analysis, process hazard analysis, quantitative risk assessment, and decision analysis of risk management alternatives. Additionally, in several assignments he has evaluated the adequacy of process safety management (PSM) systems and has offered recommendations for sources of reasonable and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGEGEP).

PROCESS SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Dr. Ogle regularly consults with clients on process systems engineering, particularly in the areas of process design, plant performance, and process operations. He has evaluated process design issues for a broad range of industries including petrochemical, mineral processing, agricultural grains and food ingredients, natural gas, ammonia and nitrogen fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, polymers, and high level nuclear waste.

In addition to his background in process design, pilot plant operation, and construction observation, the common thread that runs through all of these investigations is Dr. Ogle’s knowledge of chemical engineering science. He has extensive experience in evaluating the performance of chemical process plants including the analysis of process flowsheets and production data, the interpretation of process dynamics from process datasets, the determination of plant capacity, the identification of production bottlenecks, and the investigation of product quality issues.

CHEMICAL REACTIVITY HAZARDS

Dr. Ogle has investigated a large number of fires, explosions, and chemical releases attributed to chemical reactivity hazards, These hazards have included self-heating and spontaneous ignition, oxidizers, self-accelerating thermal decompositions, friction-sensitive or shock sensitive energetic materials, and the inadvertent mixing of incompatible chemicals.

Dr. Ogle has analyzed chemical reactivity hazards in a variety of work settings. These have included chemical manufacturing operations, hazardous material shipments, warehouse storage, material handling, maintenance activities, and waste treatment/disposal.

PRODUCT SAFETY INVESTIGATIONS

Dr. Ogle has performed a number of product safety investigations. These investigations have had flammability, explosibility, or toxicity as their primary focus. These products have included candles, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, cleaning products, adhesives, paint removers, floor finishing products, sealing compounds, gel fuels, and personal care products. Prior to his work at Exponent, Dr. Ogle worked in the defense industry. In that role he was responsible for product development using various propellants and high explosives. This work entailed the design, testing, and evaluation of military weapon systems. He has used this knowledge and experience in the investigation of deflagration or detonation incidents involving condensed phase energetic materials.

ENVIRONMENTAL LOSSES

Dr. Ogle has also worked in the environmental industry where he conducted treatability studies on contaminated soil (pilot scale equipment), he performed and managed site investigations, feasibility studies, and design projects for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. In this role he performed environmental transport and fate calculations, groundwater modeling, conceptual design of environmental remediation systems, detailed design including drawings and specifications, and construction observation. Drawing on his environmental experience, he has investigated several fires, explosions, and chemical releases at sites of environmental contamination or hazardous waste treatment facilities. He has also used his knowledge of environmental transport and fate to guide his investigation of explosions and fires associated with the subsurface migration of natural gas, propane, or landfill gas into buildings.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Iowa, 1986
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1980
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

    William H. Doyle Award for best paper presented at the 2011 AIChE Loss Prevention Symposium: Fatal explosion caused by an intermittently used fuel gas piping system

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062-026870

Licensed Professional Engineer, Texas, #102868

Licensed Professional Engineer, Louisiana, #PE.0037448

Licensed Professional Engineer, Arkansas, #12225

Licensed Professional Engineer, Alabama, #28089E

Certified Safety Professional, #15568

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, #20609-11688

40-Hour Training, Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) for Team Leaders

40-Hour OSHA Certification, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

10-Hour OSHA Certification, General Industry Standards

Publications

Walters MS, Dee SJ, Ogle RA. Two plants, one fence line: process safety management in shared facilities, Chemical Engineering Progress, 2020; February: 39-44.

Ogle, RA and Cox, BL. Chapter 6 Dust Explosions: Risk Assessment, in Methods in Chemical Process Safety, Volume 3, Dust Explosions, 167-193, Elsevier, 2019.

Dee, SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA, Walters, M, Evaluating Inherently Safer Design with Multiattribute Utility Theory. Process Safety Progress 2019; 38: 1-6.

Cox BL, Bishop JA, Ogle RA, Traina NA, Prigmore JA. Bonded, Grounded, and Burned to a Crisp: Electrostatic Ignition of Flammable Gases. Process Safety Progress 2019; 38: 1-6.
Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA. When the Fail Open Valve Fails Closed: Lessons from Investigating the "Impossible". Process Safety Progress 2019; 38: 1-6.

Hetrick TM, Smyth SA, Ogle RA, Ramirez JC. Evaluating the potential for gasoline geysering from small engine fuel tanks. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering, 2017 October; 4(2).

Garner SW, Cox BL, Bobbitt BD, Parrish B, Ogle RA. Managing the chemical reactivity hazards associated with hazardous waste. Loss Prevention Bulletin. 2017 Jun 1(255): 15-20.

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.

Ogle RA. Dust Explosion Dynamics. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2016.

Stern MC, Rosen J, Ibarreta A, Ogle RA, Myers T. Quantification of the thermal hazard from metallic and organic dust flash fires. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 2016, 44, 528-537.

Ogle RA, Ramirez JC, Hetrick TM. Domino effect in a catastrophic solid oxidizer fire. Process Safety Progress 2015; 34; 167–171.

Ogle RA, Dee SJ, Cox BL. Resolving inherently safer design conflicts with decision analysis and multi-attribute utility theory. Process Safety and Environmental Protection 2015; 97:61-69.

Cox BL, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Lessons learned from case studies of hazardous waste/chemical reactivity incidents. Process Safety Progress 2014; 33:395–398.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Calculating the capacity of chemical plants. Chemical Engineering Progress 2014; August: 59–63.

Bishop JA, Fecke M, Ogle RA. Explosion-proof may not be the answer. Powder and Bulk Solids 2014; available 7/23/2014 at http://www.powderbulksolids.com/article%5CExplosion-Proof-May-Not-Be-the-Answer-07-22-2014.

Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Fecke M. Explosion from a smoldering silo fire. Process Safety Progress 2014; 33:94-103.

Ogle RA, Morrison DR, Dee SJ. Using assessments to improve process safety culture. Process Safety Progress 2013; 33:148-151. 

Ogle RA, Carpenter, AR, Dee SJ. Promoting commitment to process safety. Process Safety Progress 2013; 32:319–321. 

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

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Ramirez JC. Risk assessment of a propane storage sphere: Maintain or decommission? Process Safety Progress 2013; 32:131–135. 

Ogle RA, Ramirez JC, Smyth SA. Calculating the explosion energy of a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion using exergy analysis. Process Safety Progress 2012; 31:51–54. 

Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Carpenter AR. Fatal explosion caused by an intermittently used fuel gas piping system. Process Safety Progress 2011; 31:360–364. 

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR. Hazards of unplanned power outages: implementing appropriate safeguards. Process Safety Progress 2011; 30:99–103. 

Ramirez JC, Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Morrison III DR. Preventing overpressure hazards from trapped liquids. Process Safety Progress 2010; 29: 313–317. 

Ramirez JC, Eby DJ, Bullen DB, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Inerted vessels: Avoiding hazards caused by buoyancy. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 2009; 22:791-794. 

Dillon SE, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Comparative fire risk of motor vehicle fuels: Gasoline vs. ethanol. Process Safety Progress 2009 Jun; 28:171–178. 

Su YS, Morrison III DR, Ogle RA. Chemical kinetics of calcium hypochlorite decomposition in aqueous solutions. Journal of Chemical Health and Safety 2009 May/Jun; 16(3):21–25. 

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR. The relationship between operator error and automation complexity. Journal of Hazardous Materials 2008; 159:135–141. 

Morrison DR, Ogle RA. Further application of the Semenov model to evaluate the possibility of spontaneous combustion in tumble dryers. Journal of Fire Science 2008; 26(2):173–190. 

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Su YS. Missed opportunities in reactive chemical hazard evaluations. Process Safety Progress 2006 Mar; 25:2–7. 

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA, Viz MJ, Carpenter AR, Su YS. Investigating chemical process accidents: Examples of good practices. Process Safety Progress 2006 Mar; 25:71–77. 

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Viz MJ. Emergency response to a non-collision HAZMAT release from a railcar. Process Safety Progress 2005 Jun; 24:81–85. 

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Morrison III DR. Lessons learned from fire and explosions involving air pollution control systems. Process Safety Progress 2005 Jun; 24:120–125. 

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Morrison III DR. Explosion of a railcar containing toluene diisocyanate waste. Process Safety Progress 2005 Jan; 23:316–320. 

Ogle RA, Megerle M, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR. Explosion caused by flashing liquid in a process vessel. Journal of Hazardous Materials 2004; 115:133–140. 

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Toxic gas release caused by the thermal decomposition of a bulk powder blend containing sodium dichloroisocyanurate. Process Safety Progress 2003; 22:75–82. 

Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Ogle. Common causes and corrections for explosions and fires in improperly inerted vessels. Process Safety Progress 2002; 21:142–150. 

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR. Investigation of an acid spill caused by the failure of an air-operated diaphragm pump. Process Safety Progress 2001; 20:41–49 

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Lessons learned from fires, flash fires and explosions involving hot work. Process Safety Progress 2001; 20:75–81. 

Ogle RA. The need for scientific fire investigation. Fire Protection Engineering 2000; Issue No. 8, Fall: 4-8. 

Ogle RA. Explosion hazard analysis for an enclosure partially filled with a flammable gas. Process Safety Progress 1999; 18:170–177. 

Ogle RA, Schumacher JL. Fire patterns on upholstered furniture: Smoldering vs. flaming combustion. Fire Technology 1998; 34:247–265. 

Ogle RA, Schumacher JL. Investigation of an explosion and flash fire in a fixed bed reactor. Process Safety Progress 1998; 17:127–133. 

Ogle RA, Schumacher JL. Investigation of a steam explosion in a petroleum product storage tank. Process Safety Progress 1998; 17:171–175. 

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF, Chen LD. An investigation of aluminum dust explosions. Combustion Science and Technology 1988; 61:75–99. 

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF, Chen LD. Thermal theory of laminar premixed dust flame propagation. Combustion and Flame 1984; 58:77–79. 

Presentations and Conference Proceedings

Cox BL, Ogle RA, Hietala DC. Distillation column explosion, 16th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, August 17-20, 2020.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA, Walters MS. Is it time for an overhaul? Deciding between short-term and long-term solutions in aging infrastructure. 16th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, August 17-20, 2020.

Ogle RA. A crash course in combustible dust. OH&S SafetyPod with Sydny Shepard, audio podcast, January 29, 2020, accessed from URL https://ohsonline.com/articles/2020/01/29/ohs-safetypod-a-crash-course-in-combustible-dust.aspx.

Ogle RA. Performing dust explosion risk assessments. DustSafetyScience Podcast with Cloney C, audio podcast, December 6, 2019, accessed from URL https://dustsafetyscience.com/dust-explosion-risk-assessments-russell-ogle/.

Dee SJ, Cox BL Walters MS Ogle RA. PPE – Can you have too much of a good thing? 22nd Annual International Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 22-24, 2019.

Cox BL, Hietala DC, Ogle RA. Dust Explosions and Collapsed Ductwork. 22nd Annual International Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 22-24, 2019.

Walters M, Dee SJ, Ogle RA. Two Plants, One Fence Line: Understanding Process Safety Management Responsibilities in Shared Facilities. 15th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, April 1-3, 2019.

O’Hern S, Jokar, A, Anderson D, Cundy M, Ogle RA. Flammable Refrigerants: Performance Comparison, Safeties and Lessons Learned. 2019 ASHRAE Winter Conference, Atlanta, GA, January 12-16, 2019.

Smyth, SA, Cox, BL, Hetrick, TJ, Ogle, RA. Lessons Learned from a Milling Explosion, 12th International Symposium on Hazards, Prevention and Mitigation of Industrial Explosions (ISHPMIE), Kansas City, KS, August 12-17, 2018.

Dee, SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA, Walters, M, Evaluating Inherently Safer Design with Multiattribute Utility Theory. 14th Global Congress on Process Safety, Orlando, FL, April 22-25, 2018.

Stern MC, Dee SJ, Ibarreta, AF, Bishop JA, Ogle RA, Myers TJ. Electrostatic Hazards during Pneumatic Conveying of Combustible Dusts in Flexible Hoses. 14th Global Congress on Process Safety, Orlando, FL, April 22-25, 2018.

Cox BL, Bishop JA, Ogle RA, Traina NA, Prigmore JA. Bonded, Grounded, and Burned to a Crisp: Electrostatic Ignition of Flammable Gases. 14th Global Congress on Process Safety, Orlando, FL, April 22-25, 2018.

Ogle, RA. Plenary Talk: Dust Explosion Dynamics—Combustion Theory as a Bridge to Better Safety Management. 10th Midwest Regional Conference of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Chicago, IL, March 13, 2018.

Ogle, RA. Forensic Chemical Engineering. AIChE Student Chapter, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, February 7, 2018.

Stern MC, Sean CO, Ibarreta A, Ogle RA, Myers TJ. Ignitability of Combustible Dust Fueled Flash Fires with Industrial Ignition Sources. 13th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, March 26-29, 2017.

Cox BL, Dee SJ, Ogle RA. When the Fail Open Valve Fails Closed: Lessons from Investigating the "Impossible". 13th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, March 26-29, 2017.

Ponchaut NF, Marr KC, Ogle RA. Fire risks from lithium-ion batteries: navigating evolving regulations Battcon International Stationary Battery Conference (BATTCON 2016), Boca Raton, FL, May 10-12, 2016.

Dee SJ, Ogle RA. Lessons learned when evaluating the feasibility of emerging green technologies. Midwest Regional Conference of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Chicago, IL, March 4, 2016.

Ramirez JC, Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Risk evaluation and the NFPA 654 layer depth criteria for dust explosion and flash fire hazards. ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Houston, TX, November 13-19, 2015.

Stern MC, Rosen JS, Ibarreta AF, Ogle RA, Myers TJ. Quantification of the thermal hazard from metallic and organic dust flash fires. 18th Annual International Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 27-29, 2015.

Stern MC, Rosen JS, Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ, Ogle RA. Unconfined deflagration testing for the assessment of combustible dust flash fire hazards. 11th Global Congress on Process Safety, Austin, TX, April 28, 2015.

Ogle RA, Cox BL, Dee SJ. Scaling analysis for confined dust flame propagation. 7th Annual AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 12-13, 2015.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle RA. Ignition of flammable vapors within a container. 7th Annual AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 12-13, 2015.

Cox BL, Dee SJ, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Hazards inherent to batch processing: Lessons learned from case studies. 7th Annual AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 12-13, 2015.

Ramirez JC, Smyth SA, Ogle RA. BLEVE energy and aerosol formation: an exergy analysis. ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, Montreal, Canada, November, 2014.

Hetrick TM, Smyth SA, Ogle RA, Ramirez JC. Evaluating the potential for flashing discharge from small engine fuel tanks. ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, Montreal, Canada, November, 2014.

Ogle RA. Panel discussion: Potential pitfalls and interpretations of workplace safety based upon OSHA guidelines. National Association of Subrogation Professionals Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, November, 2014.

Buehler CS, Haussmann GJ, Ogle RA. Flash fire from a fractionator overflow, 17th Annual International Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 28-30, 2014.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Calculating the capacity of chemical plants. AIChE Chicago Section Meeting, Waterford Banquet and Conference Center, Elmhurst, IL, October 15, 2014.

Ogle RA, Ramirez JC, Hetrick TM. Domino effect in a catastrophic solid oxidizer fire. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 31-April 2, 2014.

Cox BL, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Lessons learned from case studies of hazardous waste/chemical reactivity incidents. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 31-April 2, 2014.

Carpenter AR, Ogle RA Cox BL Dee SJ. Inherently safer design: lessons learned about the principle of simplification. Presentation (electronic poster) at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 31-April 2, 2014.

Dee SJ, Cox BL, Ogle, RA. Process safety in the classroom. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 31-April 2, 2014.

Fecke M, Ogle RA. Combustible dust risk evaluation made simple. BIOMASS Conference and Expo, Orland Florida, March 26th 2014.

Dee SJ, Ogle RA, Morrison DM. Applying game theory to understand process safety culture. 6th Annual AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, March 11, 2014.

Cox BL, Dee SJ, Ogle RA. Using near misses to improve risk management decisions. 6th Annual AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, March 11, 2014.

Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Evaluating the process safety culture implications of major incidents: Chemical release and explosion at a plastics plant. 6th Annual AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, March 11, 2014.

Shields WJ, Ogle RA. Environmental forensics. Short course given at the Air & Waste Management Association 106th Annual Conference and Exhibition, Chicago, IL, June 24, 2013.

Ogle RA, Morrison DR, Dee SJ. Using assessments to improve process safety culture. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 29-May 1, 2013.

Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Fecke M. Explosion from a smoldering silo fire. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 29-May 1, 2013.

Ogle RA, Carpenter, AR, Dee SJ. Promoting commitment to process safety. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 29-May 1, 2013.

Viz, MJ, Dee SJ, Ogle RA, Cox BL. Hydrogen sulfide exposure from molten sulfur-a forgotten hazard? Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 29-May 1, 2013.

Dee SJ, Cox, BL, Ogle RA. Using near misses to improve risk management decisions. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013 Spring National Meeting, 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 29-May 1, 2013.

Ogle RA. Responding to chemical disasters. National Association of Subrogation Professionals Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, November, 2012.

Ramirez JC, Smyth SA, Ogle RA. Maximum missile velocity from boiling-liquid expanding-vapor explosions (BLEVE) using exergy analysis. ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, Houston, TX, November, 2012.

Ogle RA, Smyth SA, Carpenter AR. Investigation of a chlorine gas release caused by the mixing of incompatible chemicals. American Society of Civil Engineers 6th Congress on Forensic Engineering, San Francisco, CA, October, 2012.

Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Ramirez JR. Flash fire involving a hot combustible liquid. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2012 Spring National Meeting, 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, April 1-5, 2012.

Barrera CA, Morrison DR, Ogle RA. Using LOPA to establish SILs for power outage protection. Presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2012 Spring National Meeting, 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, April 1-5, 2012.

Ramirez, JC, Ogle RA, Smyth SA. Towards an exergy-based explosion energy model for boiling-liquid expanding-vapor explosions. ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, Denver, CO, November, 2011.

Martens J, Fecke M, Bishop J, Ogle R. Functional testing for industrial control systems. ASME 2011 International Engineering Congress & Exposition, Denver, CO, November, 2011.

Ogle RA. Scene characterization: chemical hazards. Chemical Plant Explosion Case Study, Institute of Forensic Investigation Annual Conference and Trade Show, Homeland Security Education Center, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL, October, 2011.

Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Carpenter AR. Facility siting and hidden pathways for hazardous gas migration. 2011 Annual Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 2011.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR. Burn injury caused by mixing incompatible chemicals with sodium permanganate. Process Safety Progress 2011; 30:148-153.

Ogle RA, McCann DM, and Viz MJ. Sizing safety stock for supply chain risk management. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2011 Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October, 2011.

Ogle RA, Morrison DR, Hart RJ. Thermodynamic models for leak detection of natural gas in salt cavern storage. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2011 Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October, 2011.

Ogle RA, Dillon SE. Combustible dust. 23rd Annual Chicagoland Safety and Health Conference, Northern Illinois University, Naperville, IL, September, 2011.

Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Carpenter AR. Fatal explosion caused by an intermittently-used fuel gas piping system. 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 16, 2011.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Ramirez JC. Risk assessment of a propane storage sphere: Maintain or decommission? 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 16, 2011.

Ogle RA, Ramirez JC, Smyth SA. Calculating the explosion energy of a BLEVE using exergy analysis. 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 16, 2011.

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA. Developing process safety capsules for the chemical engineering classroom. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2009 Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 9, 2010.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Facility siting, buffer zones, and community relations. 2010 Annual Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 2010.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Ramirez JC. Process safety management of combustible and flammable liquids. The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Venezuelan Society of Safety Executives (SegurShow 2010), Caracas, Venezuela, October 19-21, 2010. (In Spanish).

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR. Burn injury caused by mixing incompatible chemicals with sodium permanganate. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2010 Spring National Meeting, 44rd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, San Antonio, TX, March 22-24, 2010.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Henriksen T. Hazards of unplanned power outages: implementing appropriate safeguards. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2010 Spring National Meeting, 25th Center for Chemical Process Safety International Conference, San Antonio, TX, March 22-24, 2010.

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA, Gidaspow D. Internal natural convection effects on the self-heating of solids. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2009 Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, November 13, 2009.

Blum A, Long RT, Ogle R, Morrison III DR, Dillon S. Performing a high-rise life safety analysis: Lessons learned from the Cook County Administration Building fire. 2009 NFPA America's Fire and Security Exposition, Miami Beach, FL July 30, 2009.

Morrison III DR, Martens JD, Ogle RA, Cowells JT. Root cause analysis of a cryogenic refrigeration system explosion. Proceedings, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2009 Spring National Meeting, 43nd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, Tampa, FL, April 26-30, 2009.

Morrison III DR, Martens JD, Ogle RA, Cowells JT. Accident investigation using process control event diagrams. Proceedings, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2009 Spring National Meeting, Fifth Global Congress on Process Safety, 24th Annual CCPS International Conference, Tampa, FL, April 26-30, 2009.

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA, Dillon SE, Lucas RJ. Analysis of a two decade old arson investigation using scientific fire investigation methods: The People vs. Madison Hobley. Proceedings, 2009 Fire and Materials Conference, San Francisco, CA, Interscience Communications Limited, London, January 2009.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Ramirez JC. Common causes and corrections for explosions and fires in improperly inerted vessels. Proceedings, 2008 Annual Meeting of the Venezuelan Society of Safety Executives (SegurShow 2008), Caracas, Venezuela, October 29-31, 2008. (In Spanish).

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Ramirez JC. The relationship between automation complexity and operator error. Proceedings, 2008 Annual Meeting of the Venezuelan Society of Safety Executives (SegurShow 2008), Caracas, Venezuela, October 29-31, 2008. (In Spanish).

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA, Ramirez JC. Evaporator upset investigation in a sugar processing plant. Proceedings, 1st First Andean Congress on Safety and Health at Work, Lima, PerÚ, October 22-24, 2008. (In Spanish).

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA. Evaluating kinetic parameters for solid substances exhibiting complex self-heating behavior. Proceedings, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2008 Spring National Meeting, 42nd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, New Orleans, LA, April 7-9, 2008.

Dillon SE, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Comparative fire risk of motor vehicle fuels: Gasoline vs. ethanol. Proceedings, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2008 Spring National Meeting, 42nd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, New Orleans, LA, April 7-9, 2008.

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA, Gidaspow D. A new assessment of the finite Biot number correction to thermal ignition tests. American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2007 Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 8, 2007.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Guidelines for identifying, evaluating, and selecting safety instrumented functions. Process Plant Safety Symposium, 2007 Spring National Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Houston, TX, April 2007.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR. The relationship between operator error and automation complexity. 2006 Annual Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 2006.

Morrison III DR, Ogle RA, Viz MJ, Carpenter AR, Su YS. Investigating chemical process accidents: Examples of good practices. Process Plant Safety Symposium, 2005 Spring National Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Atlanta, GA, April 11-13, 2005.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Su YS. Missed opportunities in reactive chemical hazard evaluations. 39th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, April 11-13, 2005.

Ogle RA, Viz MJ, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR. Bulk transportation of hazardous materials by rail: Lessons learned from non-collision accidents. 2004 Annual Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 2004.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR, Viz MJ. Emergency response to a non-collision Hazmat release from a railcar. 19th Annual CCPS International Conference, Emergency Planning: Preparedness, Prevention and Response; American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Orlando, FL, June 2004.

Ogle RA, Viz MJ, Carpenter AR. Lessons learned from Hazmat accident investigations. 17th Annual AAR/BOE Hazardous Materials Seminar, Association of American Railroads/Bureau of Explosives, Houston, TX, May 2004.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Morrison III DR. Lessons learned from fire and explosions involving air pollution control systems. 38th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New Orleans, LA, April 2004.

Morrison III DR, MacDonald M, Ogle RA. Analyzing lint deposition within the residential electric clothes dryer. 2004 International Appliance Technical Conference, Lexington, KY, March 2004.

Morrison III DR, MacDonald M, Ogle RA. Assessing electric dryer lint fire cause scenarios. 2004 International Appliance Technical Conference, Lexington, KY, March 2004.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR, Morrison III DR. Explosion of a railcar containing toluene diisocyanate waste. 18th International CCPS Conference & Workshop: Managing Chemical Reactivity Hazards and High Energy Release Events, American Institute of Chemical Engineers September 25, 2003.

Ogle RA, Haussmann G, Lucas RJ, Carpenter AR, Morrison III DR. The Scientific investigation of arson fire. Paper (with accompanying presentation by Russ Ogle), 2003 DRI Fire and Casualty Seminar, Defense Research Institute, Phoenix, AZ, November 2003.

Ogle RA, Megerle MV, Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR. Explosion caused by a flashing liquid in a process vessel. 2003 Annual Symposium, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October, 2003.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. An accident involving the thermal decomposition of a solid mixture containing sodium dichloroisocyanurate. AIChE Spring National Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New Orleans, LA, March 2002.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Lessons learned from fires, flash fires and explosions involving hot work. AIChE Spring National Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Houston, TX, 2001.

Morrison III DR, Carpenter AR, Ogle RA. Common causes and correction for explosions and fires in improperly inerted vessels. Beyond Regulatory Compliance: Making Safety Second Nature, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 2001.

Ogle RA. Ethics in forensic chemical engineering. AIChE Spring National Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Atlanta, GA, 2000.

Ogle RA, Morrison III DR. Evaluation of accident investigations conducted by regulatory authorities and advisory agencies. Beyond Regulatory Compliance: Making Safety Second Nature, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, October 2000.

Ogle RA. Explosion risk analysis for a commercial building near a closed landfill. SFPE Symposium on Risk, Uncertainty and Reliability, Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Baltimore, MD, 1999.

Ogle RA, Smith KM, Strack S. Investigation of a boiler explosion caused by a natural gas detonation. American Society of Mechanical Engineers Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference, Boston, MA, 1999.

Ogle RA, Carpenter AR. Fire patterns on combustible flooring. Society of Fire Protection Engineers, 3rd International Conference on Fire Research and Engineering, Chicago, IL, 1999.

Ogle RA, Schumacher JL. Application of fire testing and modeling in a forensic investigation. Society of Fire Protection Engineers, 2nd International Conference on Fire Research and Engineering, Gaithersburg, MD, 1997.

Ogle RA, Strack S. The role of incident investigation in mechanical integrity programs. American Petroleum Institute, 61st Spring Refining Meeting, Chicago, IL, 1996.

Ogle RA, Brumleve CB, Joyner S. Hydrogeology and remedial action modeling for a superfund site in a glaciated area. Solving Ground Water Problems with Models Conference, National Ground Water Association, Dallas, TX, 1992.

Ogle RA, Peterson EH, Souka OA, Holmquist TJ. The effect of recoil dynamics and soil response on the interior ballistics of a lightweight launcher. 1989 JANNAF Propulsion Meeting, Cleveland, OH, 1989.

Ogle RA. Parametric sensitivity of a mathematical model for closed bomb dust explosions. Chemical and Physical Processes in Combustion, Eastern States Section, The Combustion Institute, Gaithersburg, MD, 1987.

Ogle RA. A new strategy for dust explosion research; a synthesis of combustion theory, experimental design and particle characterization. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Iowa, 1986.

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF, Chen LD. A new strategy for dust explosion research. 17th Annual Meeting of the Fine Particle Society, San Francisco, CA, 1986.

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF, Chen LD. Dust explosion kinetics. 17th Annual Meeting of the Fine Particle Society, San Francisco, CA, 1986.

Ogle RA, Scholz PD, Beddow JK, Vetter AF. Free molecular electrophoresis of highly dispersed aerosol particles in an isothermal gas. 16th Annual Meeting of the Fine Particle Society, 1985.

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF. Applications of symmetry classifiers in morphological analysis. 9th Annual Powder and Bulk Solids Conference/Exhibition, Rosemont, IL, 1984.

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF, Chen LD. Thermal theory of laminar premixed flame propagation. Chemical and Physical Processes in Combustion Eastern States Section: The Combustion Institute, Providence, RI, 1983.

Ogle RA, Beddow JK, Vetter AF. Numerical modeling of dust explosions: The influence of particle shape on explosion intensity. Process Technical Program: International Powder Bulk Solids Handling Process, Rosemont, IL, 1983.

Doctoral Thesis

A New Strategy for Dust Explosion Research: a Synthesis of Combustion Theory, Experimental Design and Particle Characterization. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1986.

Professional Affiliations

Short Course Instructor

  • Dust Explosion Dynamics, AIChE 2019 Spring National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 31, 2019.
  • Dust Explosion Dynamics, AIChE 2018 Spring National Meeting, Houston, TX, April 22, 2018.
  • Dust Explosion Dynamics, AIChE 2017 Spring National Meeting, San Antonio, TX, March 26, 2017.

Leadership

  • Conference Chair, 32nd Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) International Conference, AIChE 2017 Spring National Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, March 26 – 30, 2017.
  • Conference Vice Chair, 31st Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) International Conference, AIChE 2016 Spring National Meeting, Houston, Texas, April 10 – 14, 2016.
  • Session Chair, 30th Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) International Conference, AIChE 2015 Spring National Meeting, Austin, Texas, April 26—29, 2015.
  • Session Chair, 29th Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) International Conference, AIChE 2014 Spring National Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 30—April 3, 2014.
  • Session Chair, 28th Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) International Conference, AIChE 2013 Spring National Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, April 28 – May 1, 2013.

Membership

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Center for Chemical Process Safety, Technical Steering Committee
  • American Society of Safety Professionals
  • National Association of Fire Investigators
  • National Fire Protection Association

Project Experience

Select Project Experience

The following is a brief description of a small sample of project experience demonstrating the range of Dr. Ogle’s expertise in the scientific investigation and prevention of catastrophic accidents involving fires, explosions, and chemical releases.   

Fire and Explosion Investigations

  • High rise fire: firefighting operations during a fire in a high rise building allowed toxic gas and smoke to enter and fill an emergency exit stairwell. Self-locking doors trapped evacuating occupants in the stairwell leading to six fatalities.
  • Cryogenic freeze dryer explosion: (lyophilizer) experienced a control system malfunction leading to an explosion. Two workers injured and extensive business interruption to clean room operations.
  • Natural gas compressor station fire: static electricity ignited natural gas during an emergency shutdown (blowdown). Identified causal factors and recommended changes in gas discharge system to prevent a recurrence.
  • Natural gas compressor station fire: natural gas ignited by the hot gas plume from a thermal oxidizer during an emergency shutdown in extreme weather conditions. Identified causal factors and recommended changes in gas discharge system to prevent a recurrence.
  • Ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) explosion: ammonium nitrate explosion caused by a structural fire. Extensive structural damage to nearby buildings and 15 fatalities.
  • Propane standby system explosion: corrosion failure of an underground liquid propane line allowed propane to enter maintenance building. Explosion killed three workers and caused extensive building damage.
  • Propane explosion at a Midwestern resort: horizontal drilling activity breached an underground propane line. The propane migrated underground and entered several cottages leading to three separate explosions. Explosion killed two people.
  • Natural gas explosion: failure of a plastic natural gas main allowed natural gas to migrate into a house undergoing renovation. Explosion killed four people and injured one.
  • Propane explosion: corrosion failure of an underground propane line allowed propane to migrate into the crawlspace of a house. Explosion killed six children.
  • Warehouse fire: investigated fire in cardboard storage warehouse caused by fire in the engine compartment of a forklift. Subsequent BLEVE of propane tank caused fire spread. Total loss.
  • Residential fire: allegation that fire was caused by a baseboard heater; this was refuted through examination and testing. Ignition caused by misuse of smoking materials. Performed fire tests to demonstrate development of fire patterns similar to those observed at the fire scene.
  • Arson fire investigations: investigated several arson/murder cases on behalf of criminal defendants. Issues typically involved interpretation of fire patterns and evaluation of alleged evidence of gasoline usage to start and promote fire development.

Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires

  • Coal mine explosion: investigated cause of coal mine explosion that resulted in 29 fatalities. Analyzed the effectiveness of rock dust in suppressing dust explosion development.
  • Atomized metal dust explosion: investigated three separate incidents involving metal dust and/or hydrogen gas. These incidents led to a total of five fatalities.
  • Spray dryer dust explosion: dust explosion of food ingredient led to extensive structural damage and business interruption. Ignition by static electricity in the spray dryer system. Three workers were injured.
  • Grain elevator explosion: investigated grain dust explosion that occurred during railcar loading operations. Explosion resulted in six fatalities. Unique structural features of elevator enhanced the blast damage.
  • Power plant explosion: investigated coal dust explosion that occurred during transfer of coal from stockpile to bunker. Explosion caused 17 injuries.
  • Grain milling explosion: investigated corn dust explosion resulting in five fatalities. Explosion involved a superfine grinding machine. Structural dynamics played a key role in the explosion damage.
  • Power plant coal dust explosion: investigated coal dust explosion triggered by a licensed blaster using detonating cord to dislodge coal within a storage bunker. The resulting explosion and flame caused four burn injuries.  
  • Grain milling explosion: wheat dust explosion caused by frictional heating from a superfine milling machine. Explosion resulted in one burn injury and extensive structural damage.
  • Wood products plant fire and explosion: investigated a fire and explosion at an oriented strand board plant. Explosion killed three workers and injured seven others.
  • Grain elevator explosion: investigated explosion involving a smoldering wheat product in a grain silo. Explosion injured three workers.
  • Charcoal dust explosion: investigated explosion caused by hot work activity near a storage bin. Explosion killed one worker and injured three others.
  • Grain elevator explosion: investigated explosion involving corn dust during truck dump. Ignition caused by frictional heating of misaligned elevator conveyor belt. Explosion resulted in two fatalities.

Process Safety Management (PSM) and Occupational Safety

  • Petrochemical plant explosion: determined causal factors leading to the BLEVE of a heat exchanger during a process upset. Two fatalities and property damage. Evaluated all 14 elements of the plant’s PSM system with particular focus on the resolution of recommendations generated during their process hazard analyses.
  • Polyvinyl chloride manufacturing plant explosion: investigated cause of vapor cloud explosion that resulted in five fatalities. Detailed analysis of batch chemical reactor operations, operating procedures, and training.
  • Ammonia refrigeration systems: have performed investigations of ammonia releases from PSM regulated refrigeration systems. Also, have performed safety studies and gap analyses on systems to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Petroleum refinery fire: investigated flash fire event caused by a process upset that resulted in the discharge of a large volume of liquid naptha to be discharged from a flare stack. Incident caused three burn injuries.
  • NOx release at nitric acid plant: investigated NOx release that occurred during startup of a catalytic reactor. Allegation of respiratory exposure to contract employees. Issues involved process dynamics analysis and operating procedures.
  • Polyvinyl chloride manufacturing plant explosion: investigated the causal factors responsible for the rupture of an atmospheric storage tank and subsequent release of vinyl chloride vapor.
  • Nitric acid plant explosion: investigated the explosion of a nitric acid reactor and evaluated various elements of the facility’s PSM program including process hazard analysis, management of change, operating procedures, training, and mechanical integrity.
  • Vinyl chloride distillation column explosion: investigated the rupture of a distillation column that occurred during startup. Issues included process dynamics analysis, chemical reactivity hazard evaluation, and determination of the quantity of chemicals released into the atmosphere.
  • Ethylene oxide hazard analysis: evaluated process hazards at an ethylene oxide sterilization plant. Emphasis was on the prevention of catastrophic fires and explosions associated with the operation of the sterilization autoclaves.
  • Petroleum refinery fire: investigated fatal fire caused by a leaking pump seal. Fire occurred during emergency response to leak detection. Analyzed operating procedures, training, and mechanical integrity,
  • Bauxite mineral processing plant explosion: investigated explosion of multiple pressure vessels that occurred during an emergency shutdown. Explosion resulted in 20 chemical burn injuries and complete loss of the process unit involved. Issues involved process dynamics analysis, emergency relief design, operating procedures, and training.  
  • Facility siting risk analysis: evaluated potential locations for construction of a new cokemaking facility. Issues with neighbors included their large inventories of flammable gas (propane) and toxic gas (chlorine).
  • Nitrogen asphyxiation at a petroleum refinery: investigated the deaths of two contractors exposed to nitrogen gas during maintenance activity on an idle chemical reactor. Issues included engineering controls, work procedures, supervision, and training.
  • Argon asphyxiation at a foundry: investigated the deaths of four workers exposed to argon gas during maintenance activity above an excavation pit. Issues included engineering controls, work procedures, supervision, and training.
  • Ethylene oxide burn injury at chemical plant: investigated the burn injury caused by ethylene oxide exposure to a worker during maintenance activity. Issues included work procedures, personal protective equipment, training, and emergency response.
  • Hot work safety: investigated several cases of an explosion and flash fire caused by a worker performing hot work (cutting, welding, grinding) on an “empty” container/tank/vessel. Issues typically involve understanding roles and responsibilities of several stakeholders, evaluation of cleaning methods, and use (or failure to use) inert gas to suppress a flammable atmosphere.
  • Loading/unloading accidents: investigated several releases of hazardous materials resulting in burn injuries or fatal toxic exposure. Hazardous materials commonly encountered include ammonia, natural gas liquids, and petroleum products. Issues typically involve work procedures, personal protective equipment, training, and supervision.

Process Systems Engineering

  • Petrochemical plant capacity: investigated breach of contract allegation based on inflated production capacities for an integrated plant that manufactured purified isophthalic acid, trimellitic anhydride, and maleic anhydride. Issues included process design, mass and energy balances, analysis of historical production data, wastewater treatment plant operations, and utility plant operations.
  • Terephthalic acid technology: investigated license infringement, international arbitration. Defendant copied existing design documents to build an additional plant to make terephthalic acid from paraxylene. Issues involved unique designs for chemical reactors and separation equipment.   
  • Canadian oil sands bitumen (hydrocarbon) processing plant: benchmarked the startup of a proprietary mineral processing plant for extracting bitumen from oil sand. Issues included process design, process control philosophy, operating procedures, and comparison of production ramp-up with similar process plant startups.
  • Asian petrochemical plant: international arbitration, allegation of performance guarantee failure involving a proprietary heat exchanger design at a petrochemical plant that makes benzene and paraxylene. Evaluated heat exchanger specification and conceptual design and compared with plant operating data.
  • Natural gas processing plant: investigated equipment damage caused in part by an emergency shutdown of the plant. Additional mechanical integrity issues with significant safety repercussions were identified (increased potential for hydrogen sulfide releases) from the Claus sulfur plant.  
  • Hanford Nuclear Reservation: investigated the nuclear waste processing capacity and production strategy proposed by DOE which would result in schedule delays of at least 20 years. Identified process bottlenecks and production scheduling inefficiencies and offered recommendations to overcome these obstacles.
  • Gold ore processing plant: investigated operational problems with a cyanidation reactor leading to production capacity at half of the design throughput. Identified operational failures and inefficiencies that were the actual cause of the reduced throughput.
  • Ammonia plant in Trinidad: investigated reduced production capacity in ammonia production plant due to catalytic reactor design issues. Issues involved process design, catalytic reactor design and operation, and historical production data.
  • Salt cavern failure: investigated the failure of a salt cavern used for natural gas storage. Focus was on compressor station operations for gas injections and withdrawals. Evaluated process design, process data, operating records, and inspection records.
  • Biofuel contamination: investigated allegation of contaminated biodiesel causing diesel engine damage to 65 tractor trailers. Analyzed fuel deliveries, fuel composition data from samples obtained at the refinery, fuel composition data from fuel tank samples, business records, and truck repair records.
  • Pharmaceutical contamination: investigated source of metal particle contamination that was discovered in product containers. Reviewed production records, metallurgical data from various pieces of equipment in the process line, and historical quality control records.

Chemical Reactivity Hazards

  • Multi-tenant warehouse fire: investigated a fire ignited by the self-accelerating thermal decomposition of calcium hypochlorite, a solid oxidizer used as a disinfectant for swimming pools. Fire plume triggered 1,500 personal injury complaints from nearby residents.  
  • Herbicide manufacturing plant fire: investigated a fire caused by sodium chlorate, a solid oxidizer, destroyed the manufacturing facility and impacted three other businesses in the commercial park.
  • Titanium recycling facility fire: investigated the cause of a fire and evaluated the impact of firefighting efforts on fire spread. Fire caused by thermite-type reaction between titanium and iron oxide (rust).
  • Toxic gas release: investigated toxic gas release caused by the thermal decomposition of a dry powder mixture containing sodium dichlorisocyanrate.
  • Railcar explosions: investigated the rupture of two railcars caused by the self-accelerating thermal decomposition of sodium percarbonate, a solid oxidizer. Issues involved calorimetry experiments, chemical formulation experiments, and thermal runaway analysis.
  • RCRA TSDF tank car explosion: investigated the explosion of a rail tank car caused by the thermal runaway of hazardous waste material generated by the manufacture of toluene diisocyanate. Issues included calorimetry experiments and heat transfer calculations.
  • Phenol formaldehyde polymerization reactor explosion: investigated the explosion of a pressure vessel caused by the thermal runaway of a polymerization reaction. Determined operator did not follow the correct order of reactant addition.
  • Polystyrene runaway polymerization: investigated a runaway polymerization reaction that resulted in a reactor dump. Determined that the inability to control the reaction was due to the mechanical failure of a valve used to provide cooling water to the reactor.
  • Herbicide plant explosion: investigated condensed phase deflagration of tetranitromethane, a byproduct caused by the successive nitration and sulfonation of a benzene derivative. Determined that the byproduct was accumulated in a storage tank due to changes in the air emissions control technology.
  • Water park chlorine gas release: investigated a chlorine gas release caused by the mixing of incompatible chemicals. Determined that a maintenance contractor failed to lockout the process controller that governed the chemical dosing to the pool water. Incident resulted in the evacuation of 1,500 bathers and hospitalization of 26.

Product Safety Investigations

  • Decorative candles fire risk: investigated the potential increase in fire risk caused by candles failing to meet a specific quality criterion. Conducted test program with hundreds of candles and performed a quantitative risk assessment.
  • Air freshener aerosol product: investigated the cause of poor spray delivery from a newly released aerosol spray product. Evaluated the risk of liquid droplets (water) depositing on floor surfaces and creating a slip and fall hazard. Performed mass transfer experiments, measured spray droplet size distribution with laser light scattering, determined the hazard threshold for droplet deposition, and performed a quantitative risk assessment.
  • Aerosol product failure incidents: over many years, investigated the cause and consequences of unintended venting of propellant from aerosol products. Projects involved various aerosol products from various manufacturers. Consequences have included projectile impact and fires.   
  • Air freshener plugins: evaluated the potential increase in fire risk due to the manufacturing of plastic housings with off-specification plastic resin. Also determined the source of the off-specification plastic resin and identified how it had entered the supply chain.
  • Skin care product flammability: investigated burn injury involving a personal care product.
  • Gel fuel: investigated cause of burn injury involving a gel fuel used for an outdoor decorative burner.
  • Small engine fuel tank geysering: investigated several fires involving gasoline spraying out of fuel tanks during refueling operations.

Environmental investigations

  • Hanford Nuclear Reservation: evaluated technology options for air emissions control. Vapor emissions from underground storage tanks containing radioactive waste were causing respiratory exposures for workers.
  • Petroleum refinery inland oil spill: investigated oil spill accidently released into an inland waterway due to the failure of a containment structure. Performed mass balance of spilled versus recovered oil, used hydraulic calculations to develop the time line of events, and bounded oil quantites with uncertainty analysis.
  • Drum recycling plant fire: investigated fire dynamics and estimated the combustion rate of waste solvents stored at a Superfund site using a variety of data sources including historical documents, fire scene photographs, and a Super 8 video taken during the 1969 fire.
  • Pilot scale testing of hazardous waste treatment process: investigated a chemical burn injury during a trial run of a proprietary stabilization process.  Issues included operating procedures and training.
  • Subsurface migration of flammable gas: performed risk assessments for commercial buildings located adjacent to closed landfills. Evaluated engineering and administrative controls to mitigate the risk of landfill gas from the buildings.
  • Industrial recycling facility fire: investigated fire at a paper and plastics recycling center. Ignition caused by a forklift malfunction. Massive fire plume created public health concerns; this was addressed by a systematic sampling of outdoor surfaces within the community to determine the extent of soot deposition.
  • Chemical process plant: investigated the chemical release into the atmosphere caused by the implosion of an atmospheric storage tank. Incident caused by the thermal runaway polymerization of ethyl acrylate. Determined the source term to be used in air dispersion modeling to assess exposure.
  • Solvent recyclying plant fire: investigated an air scrubber fire used to control air emissions from a thermal oxidizer. Issues involved equipment status and performance during an emergency shutdown.
  • Used oil recycling facility: investigated an asphalt tank explosion at a used oil re-refining facility. Issues involved maintenance procedures and startup procedures.
  • Wastewater treatment plant explosion: investigated methane explosion in an anaerobic digestion building. Workers were performing electrical repairs on equipment inside the building, unaware that there was a methane leak filling the room. Issues involved lockout/tagout, atmospheric monitoring, and building ventilation.
  • Wastewater treatment plant ozone exposure: worker exposed to ozone during maintenance activity. Issues included lockout/tagout, maintenance procedures, and supervision.
  • Municipal recycling facility fire: investigated a fire at a municipal recycling center.
  • Hazardous waste treatment facility chemical release: stabilization of a hazardous waste containing zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP). The heat from the stabilization reaction caused a decomposition of the ZDDP resulting in respiratory exposure for hundreds of nearby residents.
  • DOE remediation site, burn injury: contract worker at a DOE remediation site received a chemical burn injury when he inadvertently mixed sodium metabisulfite with potassium permanganate, an oxidizing agent.

Knowledge

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Iowa, 1986
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1980
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

    William H. Doyle Award for best paper presented at the 2011 AIChE Loss Prevention Symposium: Fatal explosion caused by an intermittently used fuel gas piping system

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062-026870

Licensed Professional Engineer, Texas, #102868

Licensed Professional Engineer, Louisiana, #PE.0037448

Licensed Professional Engineer, Arkansas, #12225

Licensed Professional Engineer, Alabama, #28089E

Certified Safety Professional, #15568

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, #20609-11688

40-Hour Training, Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) for Team Leaders

40-Hour OSHA Certification, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

10-Hour OSHA Certification, General Industry Standards