Working with hazardous materials at high and low pressures and temperatures comes with inherent risks and requires planning and special precautions. When experiments have both temperature and pressure extremes, both hazards must be managed simultaneously. Controls must be in place to safeguard from explosions and implosions, which may include appropriate equipment selection, careful planning, and use of safety shields. The proper selection of glassware that can withstand thermal expansion and contraction is imperative.

Below are some tips for working with high and low pressures and temperatures:

  • Perform operations involving pressure extremes only in special chambers designed for this purpose.
    • If possible, run reactions under pressure in metal equipment. If glass must be used, be sure to select the proper glassware for vacuum and pressure operations. Information on selecting the proper glassware can be found on the Glassware Safety.

Other important container selection criteria includes:

  • Vessel material must not corrode when in contact with contents.
  • Material should not react with the process being studied.
  • Vessel must be the proper size and configuration for the process.
  • Reactions should not be carried out in a closed system unless it has been designed and tested to withstand the generated pressure. The system should have a positive-feedback temperature controller. A temperature controller that can record temperature and shut down an unattended system is strongly recommended.