Faculty Advisor

Kmiotek, Stephen J.

Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


Despite best efforts, every process within or outside the chemical engineering industry has inherent risks. The team independently executed an incident investigation for an over-pressurization that occurred in Goddard Laboratories on February 3rd of 2016. This investigation involved interviews, analysis of the evidence, and examination of possible causes to the over-pressurization. The team concluded that small fractures in the bottom of a 250 mL Pyrex® glass sampling vessel were most likely present at the time of operation, weakening the strength of the vessel, causing it to shatter upon the relatively minor pressures that would be experienced under normal operation. The team developed a list of implementable corrective actions that would minimize the possibility of recurrence.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2017


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering