A comprehensive program for preventing cyclohexane oxidation process piping failures



In 1971, the Cyclohexane Oxidation Unit at the Monsanto Plant at Pensacola, Florida, suffered a pipe rupture that resulted in the formation of a cyclohexane vapor cloud of major proportions and disastrous potential. Catastrophe was averted because there was no ignition of the cloud.

The incident, plus past and present piping system remediation programs undertaken to prevent future occurrences as described in this article. The current program involves a comprehensive survey of critical piping systems utilizing flexibility analysis, acoustic emission testing, radiographic and ultrasonic inspection, HazOp safety studies, and distributed process controls to properly maintain and operate the critical piping systems.