Area Electrical Classification in Research Applications: Is It the Only Mitigative Choice?
By Richard P. Palluzi |
Area electrical classification is a powerful tool for process safety. It is not, however, the only viable approach to a safe process
Electrically classifying an area is a long-standing safety measure in the petrochemical and related industries. It is also an area that is not taught in schools and most practitioners pick up as part of their on-the-job training. As a result, it is also an area prone to many misconceptions. While its application is always challenging, its application in a research environment is even more difficult. The need for constant process and equipment changes, the desire to modify and rearrange operations and equipment, the need to strike out in totally different areas all make flexibility a major requirement (Figure 1). And an electrically classified area is relatively restrictive in what can and can’t be done. So, unfailingly, research organizations look for alternative mitigative measures.
Figure 1. An electrically classified area, such as Class 1, Div. 2 for this pilot plant, can be relatively restrictive, especially when there are frequent process and equipment changes[/caption]
Do research operations involving flammable and combustible materials always require the organization…