High Pressure Laboratory

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Laboratory Safety Manual


The HP/HL has been set up with the intent of minimizing personal danger in the event that there is an explosion rupture or malfunction of high temperature and/or high pressure equipment. In addition to general safety considerations, specific equipment and safety features have been incorporated into the laboratory which shall be discussed in this section.

Procedures for Emergencies

Condition #1:

Explosion, fire, or other circumstance in which your safety may become endangered.

Procedure to Follow:

  • Exit he lab (if time permits, push the Panic /button on your way out) and close the door.
  • Pull he fire alarm to evacuate the building and notify the Fire Department.
  • Exit the building down the stairs and meet the Fire Department by the doors to the west of the elevators to inform them of the circumstances.

Condition #2:

Small fire which you can put out safely without endangering yourself. NOTE: DO NOT enter a cell in which the equipment is under pressure or toxic fumes may be given off.

Procedure to Follow:

  • Put out the fire.
  • Call the Fire Department and Lab Supervisor to report the fire.

Emergency Equipment

Emergency Equipment Available Location
Fire Pull Alarm Outside Lab: On the wall to the left
5# CO2 Extinguisher Inside Lab: Opposite the door
5# Dry Chemical Extinguisher Inside Lab: Next to door
Emergency Eyewash Inside Lab: Next to sink
Emergency Shower Outside Lab: Downstairs to right, through Marvel Store Room

General Lab Safety

Electrical Safety

Wiring within the cells is explosion-proof to the instruments. The instruments were designed for use in high pressure and temperature applications. The seal-offs in the cells eliminate the possibility of flammable or toxic gases entering the control room through the conduit which could otherwise cause an explosion, fire hazard, or other threat to personal safety.

The lighting within the cells is also explosion-proof. Within the control room the ceiling lighting is vapor-tight. The exhaust fan in the cylinder area is also explosion-proof.

First Aid

First Aid should be given to anyone whose life has been endangered through an accident until trained medical help arrive. Medical help can be contacted through the 911 operator for emergency situations. For less serious conditions, McKinley (3-2701) and Carle (9-383-3151) Hospital can also be contacted.

Gas Detector

A Gastech gas detector is mounted on the south wall next to the clock in the Control Room. This instrument is set to give an early warning tone should combustible gases exist in the control room and should be turned on when ever a combustible gas is used or could be generated form a reaction.

Hydrogenation Catalyst Handling

Hydrogenation catalysts must be used according to all the manufacturer’s instruction and warnings. Fires and explosives can easily occur from adding catalyst to solvents or solvents to catalysts under the presence of oxygen. Used catalyst can also be pyrophoric.

Panic Button

In the west end of the lab, to the lest of the door is a large Red Button marked “Panic Button.” If this button is pressed, all power within the lab except the tree exhaust fans and the vapor-tight lights in the control room will be shut off. Note, however, that the panic button does NOT notify the fire department nor the police.

Posting of Emergency Phone Numbers & Telephone Location

At the HPL entrance is a telephone which can be used to make emergency calls. A list of emergency phone numbers is posted next to the telephone. All emergency services can be reached by dialing 9- 911.

Unattended Operation

  • Post emergency contact information of user on the door outside the HP/HL.
  • Insure that the ventilation remains on at all times when equipment is in use.


  • Maintain the cylinder area exhaust fan operational.

System Safety

  • Belt Guards
  • Check Valves
  • Gas Cylinder Handling
  • Online Sampling
  • Pressure Relief Valves
  • Pressure Switch
  • Pressurized Gas System Precautions
  • Reaction Cooling
  • Remote Valve Stem Extensions

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
High Pressure Laboratory
School of Chemical Sciences
Roger Adams Lab Penthouse
600 S. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL  61801
Dr. William A. Boulanger
Faculty Advisor
wboulang [at] illinois [dot] edu
217-621-4023 (cell)
scs-webmaster [at] illinois [dot] edu