How to Safely Transport Organic Peroxide

Organic peroxide transportation

If your company requires shipping organic peroxides overseas, it is critical that you transport them in the proper containers. Organic peroxides can be extremely dangerous to transport, and you don’t want to take any chances with the shipping containers you use to get them where they need to be for a variety of reasons.

What Is Organic Peroxide?

To define organic peroxide, it is a carbon compound with two linked oxygen items (peroxy group). Because of the high level of oxygen, organic peroxides can create a substantial fire and explosion risk. Organic peroxides are chemicals that are found in a wide range of industries, especially the plastic and rubber industries. They can act as accelerators, curing agents, hardeners and catalysts and serve a variety of other useful purposes. While they are typically found in solid form as a powder, they can sometimes come as liquids or pastes, as well.

Dangers of Organic Peroxides

While organic peroxides can look innocuous, they can actually be quite hazardous. They can be toxic or corrosive and can cause a health hazard if handled, inhaled or swallowed. They can rust and destroy metals. Most importantly, as mentioned above, the high oxygen of the peroxy group means a level of flammability and combustibility.

For some of what are called class 5.2 organic peroxide, it takes very little to catalyze them. A slight amount of heat, shock or friction can cause them to combust and burn extremely quickly. For this reason, it is incredibly important to store them in a temperature-controlled and constantly monitored container during transport.

Self-Accelerating Decomposition Temperature

An important factor in organic peroxide safety is self-accelerating decomposition temperature (SADT). The SADT of an organic peroxide is the lowest temperature at which it will experience self-accelerating decomposition in one week in a typical vessel or package. At the SADT, the heat evolution becomes unbalanced due to the decomposition reaction and the rate of heat removal from the package.

If the heat removal is too low, the temperature inside the package rises, and the decomposition rate increases uncontrollably. Self-accelerating decomposition occurs when the decomposition rate is fast enough that it generates heat faster than it can dissipate into the environment.

Some peroxides are highly unstable and must be refrigerated to prevent self-accelerating decomposition. Others are more stable and can be stored safely at normal ambient temperatures. To determine the maximum temperature at which it is safe to transport an organic peroxide, it must be tested to determine its SADT.

Safely Transporting Organic Peroxides Overseas

Essential elements of safely transporting organic peroxide overseas include:

  • Temperature control: Controlling the temperature during transport is crucial for many organic peroxides. In addition to the SADT, it is important to know the temperature at which emergency measures must be taken.
  • Safe packaging: Packaging must be made of compatible material and contain an appropriate volume or quantity of product. Some products require vented caps. All packaging must be United Nations-approved and include the required labels.
  • Safe preparation: Trained personnel must secure the cargo appropriately and follow the required stowage order.
  • Transport equipment: Temperature-controlled organic peroxides must be transported in refrigerated trucks, reefer containers or refrigerated tank containers.
  • Escorting: A qualified escorting person must provide organized, planned supervision of reefer containers throughout the transport chain. Escorting ensures the reefer container is working correctly and maintaining the required temperature.
  • Safe intermediate storage: Direct transfers from vessel to trailer — and vice versa — are preferred, but sometimes intermediate storage during transport is necessary. Personnel should store the container in a safe, shaded location and take measures to prevent unauthorized access. They must also maintain proper equipment operation and temperature control.

How Do Reefer Containers Aid in the Transportation of Organic Peroxides?

Reefer containers are essential to the safe transportation of organic peroxides that require temperature control. During road transport, the cooling units for these containers must be mechanical and be able to work independently of the truck engine. The truck driver should be able to read the temperature of the cooling compartment at all times, and the truck must have an alarm system that indicates if the container exceeds the alarm temperature. Spare parts and service providers for the refrigeration system must also be available.

Reefer containers are also used during sea transport of temperature-controlled organic peroxides. These containers typically have a redundant cooling system. These containers also have an alarm system to warn of temperature deviations — usually also tied to a GSM or Satellite monitoring system.

Common Organic Peroxides: What is Organic Peroxide Used For?

Some of the most common class 5.2 organic peroxides you will need specialized containers to transport include:

  • Tert-Butyl peroxy isobutyrate: Used as a polymerization catalyst, this organic peroxide is highly sensitive to increases in temperature and is usually stored in a benzene slurry. It is extremely volatile and will explode violently if rapidly heated.
  • Diisopropyl peroxydicarbonate: Another polymerization catalyst, this chemical is a white, solid substance with an unpleasant odor that is typically shipped in dry ice to stabilize it. It can spontaneously decompose at room temperature, releasing corrosive and flammable products.
  • Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide: A liquid organic peroxide, this chemical is used as a crosslinking catalyst and is both explosive and toxic.

Klinge Dual Refrigerated Containers for Safer Organic Peroxide Transportation

Klinge has developed an extremely reliable container for Class 5.2 dangerous goods transportation. Our Dual Redundant Refrigerated Container & Integral Genset has two full capacity reefer units and automatically switches to the backup in an emergency. It complies with the Internal Maritime Organization’s regulations for the transportation of certain organic peroxides and therefore, also comes with a diesel generator set that will power the units during truck transport or external power supply loss as well as internal explosion-proof fittings.

Klinge has been providing safe transport of goods for chemical and pharmaceutical companies for more than three decades and is the smart choice when it comes to shipping organic peroxides. To talk to a specialist or for a quote on our containers, contact Klinge today!


Klinge Chemical Refrigeration Containers


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