The Research program at the department offers a solid foundation in both theoretical and applied aspects of chemical engineering. We offer research programs in many cutting-edge technology areas. The department is home to several consortia and interdisciplinary research centers. Chemical Engineering houses state-of-the art research facilities.

Research Areas

The department is involved in a variety of frontier and traditional areas in chemical engineering research, under the broad areas of: The following is a rough classification of the research undertaken under these, and the names of faculty members involved. Please consult the faculty links for further details.
A separate list of research areas ordered by faculty is also available here.


The department hosts several experimental and computational facilities. These are classified according to their physical location and the broad category of use. Please select from the options below (choose ALL for no specific value) to view the list of your interest.

Laboratory NameInstrument Class
Facility Namesort iconInstrument ClassLab Name
BenchTop 3star conductivity/Resistivity/TDS/Salinity/Temperature Meter
Composition Analysis
Sample Preparation
Automation Lab
Advanced inverted fluorescent Microscope: Nikon Eclipse TE 2000-S
Biomolecular Engineering
Air-jet atomizer Model 3076, TSI
Sample Preparation
Particle and Aerosol Research Lab (PARL)
Argon Ion Laser System
Fluid Mechanics Lab
Atomic force microscope system(Easyscan 2 STM version 1.5)
Size Analysis
Silicate Engg
Sample Preparation
Automation Lab
Automation Lab
Bench-top pH meter
Sample Preparation
Protein Engineering Lab
BIO- REACTOR, Bio engineering Company Switzerland
Protein Engineering Lab
Biosaftey cabinet
Sample Preparation
Biosystem Engineering
Organic Processes Lab
Reaction Engineering
Carbon dioxide incubator
Sample Preparation
Biomolecular Engineering
Cascade Impactor, MOUDI, Model no.110
Sample Preparation
Particle and Aerosol Research Lab (PARL)
COMSOL Multiphysics 3.5 software (formerly FEMLAB)
Molecular Modelling (Software)
Process Design (Software)
Transport Modelling (Software)
Organic Processes Lab
Condensation Particle Counter, Model 3775, TSI
Size Analysis
Particle and Aerosol Research Lab (PARL)
Constant Temperature Circulator- JULABO
SoFT (Soft Fluids Technology) Laboratory
CSTR Setup
Automation Lab
Cyclone Separator
Size Analysis
Particle and Aerosol Research Lab (PARL)
Deep freezer
Composition Analysis
Sample Preparation
Biochemical Engineering

To check availability of slot click here.

DUGC Approval form for URA01

URA01: This is recognition of a small research/developmental effort, successfully completed by a student in the first, second or third year of an undergraduate programme – that is, a BTech, Integrated MSc or a Dual Degree Programme. A faculty member must agree to supervise the student for the URA01 project. The student works with this faculty member, with the approval of the DUGC, for four-to-six month duration – including the summer or winter vacations. No formal registration is required with the academic office at this stage. If the faculty member is satisfied with the quantum and quality of work done, at any stage, s/he may recommend the award of URA01 to the student, which will then be listed in the grade card of the student in the semester immediately following the semester in which this award was recommended. No credits are assigned to URA01. URA01 can be awarded only once to a student.

Instructions for a student interested for URA01:

1) Browse through the department website's Research section to look for a project/topic of your interest. In research section, the projects are sorted our in various formats to aid the students in the most efficient manner.

2) After deciding the project/topic, approach the concerned faculty with this form (here the form can be hyperlinked) requesting him/her to guide you for URA01.

3) If the faculty agrees to supervise you then decide the topic, fill the form and submit the same to the HoD office seeking for approval from DUGC (Department Undergraduate Committee)

4) You are required to collect back the form after approval and keep it with you till the completion of the project. After completion, you may give the form to your guide seeking for URA01 (remember that this is an award, the faculty may choose not to give the award if s/he does not find your work up to his/her standards).

5) If the guide gives his/her assent for the award then the form should be submitted back to DUGC for their acknowledgment whereupon you can take it to the Academic office to get it listed on the grade sheet.

Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE)

This page documents procedures, documentation, and (internal) audit of Operational Health, Safety, and Environment (OHSE/HSE) practices followed in the department. Please consult the following pages for details on various aspects.

Workflow for Chemicals Usage

The department Health and Safety regulations require certain steps to be followed for handling chemicals. This page provides a workflow.  Chemicals to be used in our laboratories must be supervised by a PhD student. Where possible, every student must be initiated into the chemical safety by a PhD student.

  1. Read and Understand the department Health Safety Environment Policy.
  2. Search for the chemical Safety information--MSDS--(in the department website) or in the web. 
  3. Take necessary precautions required to handle the chemical (like protective equipment).
  4. Search for the chemical availability in department database.  Somebody maybe able to lend you.
  5. Procure the chemical through the normal indent/purchase process.
  6. Add the chemical to the department database
    1. If MSDS is already available use it.
    2. If MSDS is not available, download, read and add the important information.
    3. Add the chemical inventory to department database.
    4. Take a printout of Inventory data entered from the web and attach it with the Bill/Invoice to process in the Department Store. Puchase approval will be permitted only after the inventory is added.
  7. Once every year, audit the chemicals available in your laboratory, by updating the quantity available.

Chemical Safety Data

Quick and easy access to chemical material safety information is important in the case of emergency situations. Though all these information is available in the material safety data sheets (MSDS), here we try to provide essential information in a capsule form for quick access.

The data in these pages have to be entered by the users (mostly students) themselves after reading the MSDS. The chemical inventory in a laboratory also need to be regularly audited. This also gives an opportunity for the students and staff of a laboratory to be familiar with the practices and take stock of the materials currently available, and dispose expired ones.

Please consult the following links for searching existing data and entering new data.

Search for Chemical Safety Information

Please search for chemicals from the Site Search near the Top left corner, below the department Logo. Type "chemical-name msds", example "benzene msds".

Entering New Chemical Safety Information

The most essential information required is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical. Search well known internet sites of Chemical Suppliers such as

  1. Sigma-Aldrich
  2. Merck Chemicals

first for the product and then find the correct product ID. For the MSDS usually the product ID has to be provided (and not the product name).

Search the local department database to find if the chemical safety information is already entered. If it is there, please review the information from the MSDS you have obtained independently. Please remember this exercise helps you to be familiar with the safety practices.

If the local database does not contain the chemical Create a new entry for the chemical. Note you must be ready with the MSDS before you proceed.

Entering New Chemical Inventory (Auditing)

If you have purchased a new chemical, a record of its inventory can be maintained here. When periodic audits or stock checking are carried out, the inventory list has to be appropriately modified.

  1. The chemical must exist in our database. Search for it. If the local database does not contain the chemical Create a new entry for the chemical. Read more details about entering a new chemical.
  2. Create a new inventory record for the chemical purchase.
  3. Browse the list of chemicals inventory available in your laboratory, and audit (edit details) them

HSE Plan: A Guide to Laboratory Hazards and Practices

A Guide to laboratory hazards, recommended working practices and hazardous waste disposal.

This document prepared by the Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, is a guide to the desirable practices relating to the protection of personnel health, safety and environment (HSE) which may be adopted and adhered to in connection with all laboratory-based research activities. The objective of this document is to provide all relevant information on safety and environmental disposal practices to the students, technical staff, and other concerned personnel. This is expected to help eliminate or minimize hazards that may be encountered during laboratory activities. It is anticipated that every personnel associated with the Departmental laboratory activities will strive to enhance the practices suggested here so as to ensure that potential health effects due to accidental exposure to the relevant hazards, and environmental impacts due to discharge of chemicals is either eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels as prescribed by regulatory authorities. Adherence to the best laboratory safety practices may not only be mandated, it is also in the best interest of a personnel and that of his / her co-workers.

Committee Members: Prof. Sandip Roy (Convener), Prof. Chandra Venkataraman, Prof. S.B. Noronha, Prof. Madhu Vinjamur, Prof. Mani Bhushan

HSE Policy

The Department’s HSE policy may be summarized as follows:

• create and maintain a work place that is free of any hazards and environmental impacts associated with laboratory

• enable dissemination of all knowledge relevant to laboratory safety and waste disposal through focussed training sessions, expert lectures, posters, signage, etc.

• ensure adherence to the requisite safety and environmental (HSE) norms by all users through regular monitoring

• update the safety manual and associated HSE practices continuously

• appoint faculty co-ordinator(s) to oversee the HSE practices and ensure compliance

• discourage instances of non-compliance with suitable penalty

• publicize lessons from instances of accidental personnel exposure and environmental releases

• publicize compliance and innovative adoption of HSE practices by individual (or group of) students and technical staff

HSE Responsibilities

The responsibilities in relation to adherence to safe practices within the Department would be as follows:

1. The Head of the Department would be responsible for appointing a faculty co-ordinator to oversee HSE practices, ensure compliance, and setting up HSE related committees

2. The HSE faculty co-ordinator would be responsible for continuous updating of the safety practices and the relevant documents, periodic auditing of practices in the Departmental Laboratories, and investigation of any instances of accidental personnel exposure, property damage and unacceptable environmental discharge. Other concerned and expert faculty may be co-opted in the above tasks in consultation with the Department Head

3. The faculty-in-charge of each laboratory would be foremost responsible for overseeing and ensuring compliance with Departmental HSE norms within his/her laboratory; he/she need also enhance the practices through collection and dissemination of relevant HSE information.

4. The primary responsibility of complying with recommended HSE practices would devolve to the students and support technical staff in each laboratory.

The Nature of Chemical Hazards

The term hazard may be broadly defined as “anything that has a potential to cause damage to human health, property and environment”. Hazards in a research laboratory may be of various forms: mechanical, electrical, and chemical. Examples include: noise, rotating equipments, compressed gas cylinders, electricity, high temperature / high pressure equipments, chemicals that are toxic / flammable / corrosive / radioactive, etc [Ref. 1]. Of these by far the most common and dominant hazard is the possible exposure to a variety chemicals that are implicated today in research in various fields of science and engineering. Many of these chemicals, especially if not properly used, may endanger health and safety, and pollute the environment, often irreversibly. Thus, a systematic assessment of the nature of personnel, property and environmental hazard posed by a chemical employed in the laboratory is necessary as part of a Department’s HSE goal.

The following material attributes contribute to toxic heath-hazard due to possible acute, repeated or prolonged exposure [Ref. 2]:

• toxic to human specific human organs (kidney, liver, lung, etc)

• toxic to human physiological systems (reproductive, nervous, blood, etc)

• corrosive (strong acids, bases, dehydrating agents, oxidizing agents)

• irritant (non-corrosive chemicals that cause reversible inflammatory effects on human tissue)

• cancer causing

• sensitizing (allergenic)

• radioactive

Fire and explosion hazards may be classified as follows:


• oxidizing

• extremely flammable

• highly flammable

• flammable

The following properties present hazard to the environment:

• toxic to living organisms

• persistent in the environment (bio-persistent)

• bio-accumulative

Also, substances and preparations that cannot be classified by using the above system may be regarded as dangerous if they have properties which are hazardous to human health, to other living organisms or if they can damage property / environment.

Examples of Potentially Hazardous Chemical Classes of Compounds

Of the large variety of chemicals that may potentially be used in a chemical laboratory the following classes of substances are generally regarded to pose HSE hazards [Ref 3]:

• Acids

• Aldehydes

• Alkaline metals

• Amines

• Ammonia and Ammonium Compounds

• Azo and Diazo Compounds

• Hydrazines

• Carbonyls

• Chlorates and Perchlorates

• Cyanides

• Epoxides

• Ethers

• Halogens

• Hydrocarbons

• Hydroxides

• Isocyanates

• Mercaptans

• Nitro-compounds

• Organophosphates

• Peroxides and Hydroperoxides

• Phenols and Cresols

• Silanes and Chlorosilnaes

HSE-relevant Properties of Chemical Substances

The hazardous nature of all chemicals is strongly grounded in their physico-chemical properties, the magnitude of which determine the degree (or intensity) of the hazard posed by them. Table 1 provides a list of such common properties of substances, which often are indicative of the level of hazard and which constitute inputs to quantitative (or semi-quantitative) assessment of hazard posed by a chemical [Refs. 3, 4,5].

Table 1.
Physico-chemical Properties defining Hazards



indicate physical state (solid, liquid, gas), and colour


if odour is perceptible, give a brief description



point/boiling range:

specify here the temperature at which the material changes from liquid to
gas. If it decomposes without boiling, the temperature at which it decomposes
may be given with the abbreviation `dec.'

point/melting range:

indicate the temperature at which the solid material changes to a liquid


the lowest temperature at which a liquid or solid produces enough vapour to
form a flammable air-vapour mixture near its surface so that it can be
ignited by a spark or flame at atmospheric pressure.


to provide an indication of acidic or alkaline (basic) properties, give the
pH of the substance or preparation as supplied or that of an aqueous solution
(in the latter case indicate the concentration).

is expressed on a scale from 0 to 14, which can be divided into the following

  • pH 0-2 Strongly acidic 
  • pH 3-5 Weakly acidic 
  • pH 6-8 Neutral 
  • pH 9-10 Weakly basic 
  • pH 12-14 Strongly basic 

or preparations with pH values 0-2 or 11.5-14 may be classified as corrosive.


describes the ability of the material to ignite and burn readily. A liquid or
solid with a flash point above 21°C but less than 55°C is flammable.

Highly flammable relates to substances or preparations with a flash point
above 0°C but below 21°C, as well as to solids spontaneously flammable in air
or which may readily ignite after brief contact with source of ignition and
which continue to burn after removal of the source of ignition.

Extremely flammable relates to liquids which have a flash point below 0°C and
a boiling point below 35°C, and to flammable gases when liquefied.


some materials have the feature of igniting in air in the absence of a spark
or flame. The auto-ignition temperature can be found in the literature.


specify, if appropriate, the concentrations for the lower and upper explosion
limits. This is usually in volume percentage of air, for example, for xylene
1.1-7.0%, and for benzene 1.2 - 8.0%.


substances which can generate and maintain heat producing chemical reaction
with other materials, especially burning flammable material.


describes the tendency of a material to form a vapour. It is used e.g. for
estimating the inhalation or fire hazards. Vapour pressure is expressed
usually at the temperature of 20°C.


the density of the substance or preparation compared to the density of water
(= 1). This figure indicates whether the substance floats in water or sinks
(when the relative density is more than 1).


indicate here the solubility in water. If the solubility is not accurately
known describe with words such as: poor, moderate, miscible...


the ratio of the solubility of a substance or preparation in n-octanol to
that in water.


provide here data relevant for safety aspects, such as vapour density,
evaporation rate, conductivity, viscosity, etc.


abbreviation used for the dose which
kills 50% of the test population. LD50 is expressed in milligrams per
kilogram of body weight of the test animal (which must be mentioned).


abbreviation used for the exposure concentration of a toxic substance lethal
to half of the test animals. LC50 is expressed in millilitres per kilogram of
body weight of the test animal (which must be mentioned), exposed to the
substance by inhalation during a specified period.

TLV-TWA (Threshold Limit Value - Time
Weighted Average)

time-weighted average concentration
for an eight hour working day or 40 hours a week to which nearly all
personnel may be repeatedly exposed without adverse effect. 

TLV-STEL (Threshold Limit Value -
Short Term Exposure Limit)

concentration to which a person may be exposed for a short time (usually 15
minutes) without suffering from irritation, long-term or irreversible tissue
damage or impairment likely to increase accidental injury, affect self-rescue
or reduce work efficiency

TLV-C (Threshold Limit Value -

concentration that should not be
exceeded at all during work exposure

Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs)

 In order to control toxic effects in workplaces the commonest strategy is to define Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs). OELs are based on the best available information from industrial experience, from experimental laboratory studies and from accidents.

Different kinds of OELs are applied in practice. The TLVs (Threshold Limit Values) which have been defined in Table 1 are published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (amongst others) []. They set a limit concentration below which it is believed that nearly all workers can be repeatedly exposed day after day without adverse effect [Refs. 6, 7]. Therefore, these may also be regarded as target airborne concentrations that should never be exceeded in a laboratory environment. The TLVs are regularly reviewed and corrected when new information becomes available. Annexure 1 provides the latest Occupational Exposure Limits (termed alternatively as Workplace Exposure Limits) set by the UK Health and Safety Executive.

Almost all countries in the world today have adopted similar table of values of OELs for regulating personnel health at workplace (industry and laboratory). For detailed information on effects of various chemicals one may access the following website of International Program on Chemical Safety (a World Health Organization subsidiary):

Criteria for Major Hazard Chemicals

Typically any assessment of thedegree of hazard from a chemical is based on multiple parameters which include:values of relevant physico-chemical properties, operating conditions, availableinventory etc. Of these, the property values generally provide a very criticalinput to hazard assessment. Thus, several international and national bodiesacross the world have defined criteria based on substance physico-chemicalproperties, primarily for classifying substances into various hazardcategories.  One of the widely acceptedclassification criteria is due to the International Labour Organization (, which recommends the following taxonomy forhazardous substances that pose significantly high level (major) hazard: 

Toxic substances:

Toxic substances are classifiedinto hazard categories according to their acute toxicity. Classification can bedone by determining the acute toxicity in animals, expressed in LD50 or in LC50values (see table 1). In general three categories are suggested: Very Toxic(Category 1 and 2) and Toxic substances (Category 3). These are demarcated byLD50 and LC50 values as shown in Table 2.


Table 2. Classification of toxicchemicals based on LD50 and LC50


LD50 absorbed orally in rat

(mg/kg bodyweight)

LD50 dermal absorption in rat or rabbit

(mg/kg bodyweight)

LC50 absorbed by inhalation in rat

(mg/litre per 4 hours)








0.1 - 0.5


25 - 200

50 - 400

0.5 - 2


Flammable substances:

  • Gases which form flammable mixtures with air
  • Highly or extremely flammable liquids with flash points lower than 21 °C
  • Flammable liquids with flash points lower than 55 °C

Explosive substances:

Thiscategory includes substances which may explode when brought in contact with asource of ignition or which are more sensitive to shock and friction than dinitrobenzene.


Hazardous Material Labeling

There are several conventionsof classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals across various continents.However, in an effort to develop a uniform, global system of classification ofchemicals, labels and safety data sheets, the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) wasinitiated by the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in1992. The work was co-coordinated and managed under the auspices of theInterorganization Programme for Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC)Coordinating Group for the Hamonization of Chemical Classification Systems(CG/HCCS). The technical focal points of completion of the work were theInternational Labour Organization (ILO), The Organization of EconomicCooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Economic and SocialCouncil’s Sub-Committee of Experts on Transportation of Dangerous Goods(UNSCETDG). The first version became available in 2003 in the form of the socalled purple book (compared to the orange book for transportation). The GHSharmonizes most classification criteria for supply and transportation and isbased on the intrinsic properties of substances.

            The following table 3 provides thesigns used to label different types of hazardous substances enlisted in the UNGlobally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).More details on the system are available at:


Table 3 LabelsRepresenting Various Chemical Hazard Classes


Hazardous Substance Classes


Unstable explosives

Flammable substances

-           gases

-           aerosols

-           liquids

-           solids

-           Oxidizing gases

-           Oxidizing liquids

-           Compressed gases

-           Liquefied gases

-           Refrigerated liquefied gases

-           Dissolved gases

-           Corrosive to metals

-           Skin corrosion / irritation

-           Serious eye damage / irritation 

Acutely Toxic Substances

-           oral

-           dermal

-           inhalation

Highly Toxic Substances & Substances with Specific Organ Toxicity

-           oral

-           dermal

-           inhalation

-           hazardous to ozone layer

-          Respiratory sensitizer

-          Germ cell mutagenic

-          Carcinogenic

-          Effects via or on Lactation

-          Toxic to Reproduction

-          Specific Target Organ Toxicity following Single Exposure

-          Specific Target Organ Toxicity following Repeated Exposure

-          Aspiration Hazard

Substances posing acute, long term hazard to aquatic environment




Radioactive Substances*

* From US Department ofTransportation 


Stability and Reactivity of Chemicals: Use of Interaction Matrix

Duringthe hazard assessment of a chemical one must also scrutinize the stability ofthe substance and the possibility of hazardous reactions occurring undercertain conditions. It is necessary to list the conditions which should beavoided, such as high or low temperatures, pressure, light and shock effects [Refs. 3, 8, and],which may cause a dangerous reaction and if possible include a briefdescription of these.

As part of the assessment one also must identify thematerials which may cause a dangerous reaction if they come into contact withthe substance or preparation concerned, such as water, air, acids, bases,oxidizing agents, etc.  In addition it isnecessary to list materials which may be produced in dangerous quantities upondecomposition. In a laboratory environment, the information pertaining tostability and reactivity of chemicals may be conveniently documented in theform of an “interaction matrix” [Ref. 2]which (for example) is illustrated in table 4.

Table 4 Interaction Matrix



Chemical A

Chemical B

Chemical C

Mixture X

Mixture Y

Mixture Z


Chemical A








Chemical A








Chemical A








Mixture X








Mixture Y








Mixture Z








Low Temperature







High Temperature








High Pressure
































As may be evident from fig 1, the interactionmatrix essentially is a means to record the consequence of an accidentalcombination of the substances and / or conditions in the first columnand the substances enlisted in the first row. The number of elements inthe first row and the column may be expanded as a user may feel the need for. Theuser may then fill in the table (i.e, the individual boxes at the juncture ofeach row and column) with information on the expected consequences of eachcombination. Such a document may then become a source of information fordecisions on expected experimental programs. 

Ingress of Chemicals into Human Body

Chemical substance cause adverse health effects by either entering the body or coming in contact with it. There are four main routes for chemical substances to enter the human body:

• Inhalation (breathing in)

• Absorption (through the skin or eyes)

• Ingestion (eating, swallowing)

• Transfer across the placenta of a pregnant woman to the unborn baby

As already introduced above, the common chemical groups that cause health risks are: dusts, fumes and gases, solvents, acids, bases, heavy metals etc. Many chemicals may be dispersed into the air to form dust, mist, fumes, gas or vapour and can then be inhaled. Skin absorption is, after inhalation, the second most common route through which exposure may take place. Handling chemical substances without proper protection exposes one to the risk of absorbing harmful amounts of chemical through the skin. This usually happens when handling the chemical in liquid form. Dust may also be absorbed through the skin if it is wetted by, for instance, sweat. The capacity of different chemical substances to penetrate the skin varies considerably. Some substances pass through it without creating any feeling [].

The protective external layer of skin may be softened (by toluene, dilute washing soda solution, etc) thus permitting other chemicals to enter readily into the bloodstream (such as aniline, phenol, benzene, etc). Eyes may also absorb chemical substances, either from splashes or from vapours. Dangerous chemicals can enter the body through ingestion as gases, dusts, vapours, fumes, liquids or solids. Inhaled dust may be swallowed, and food or cigarettes may be contaminated by dirty hands.

Whatever the route of entry, chemicals can reach the blood stream and be distributed all over the body. In this way damage can be caused at the site of entry as well as to organs distant from the exposed area. Chemical exposure may also cause adverse impacts at systemic levels: such as nervous and reproductive systems [Refs. 2, 5].

Chemical Absorptivity of Skin

In many countries a “skin notation” is used for cautioning againstskin contact in cases where the skin is significantly permeable to the chemicalin question. The stratum corneum provides the greatest barrier againsthydrophilic compounds, whereas the viable epidermis is most resistant to highlylipophilic compounds. Skin absorption depends on the physicochemical properties(e.g. octanol–water partition coefficient (Po/w), molecular weight,electron structure and dissociation constant (pKa) of the compound, but also oninteractions with other compounds. Additionally, the vehicle, occlusion,concentration, exposure pattern and the site of the skin also play a role [Refs. 2, 5].

Evaluations of hazards due to skinpenetration are generally complicated due to various factors that need to beconsidered: type of vehicle for the chemical, size of the exposed area, applieddose, etc. The simplest, semi-quantitative assessments consider the flux (inmg/cm2hr) derived from in vitro studies. Theoretically, skinabsorption depends, amongst others things, on the volume of the molecule andhence on the molecular weight of a compound as well as on the hydrophobic andhydrogen bonding properties, which are often based on the Po/w [Ref. 9]. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)has a free service that allows the calculation of a skin permeation coefficient(KP) for substances:, skin penetration data can be obtained from the EDETOX database [].  

HSE Information Requirements for a Laboratory

The key information that must be collected and disseminatedamongst all users in a laboratory are:

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) pertaining to all chemicals used in a laboratory; these are generally available from manufacturers of chemicals and provide safety-related information for a chemical. This broadly includes: hazards, safe exposure levels, over-exposure symptoms, safe handling practices, waste disposal methods, etc. MSDS of many chemicals are also freely available on the internet
  • Interaction Matrices containing information on stability and reactivity of various chemicals (may be abstracted from MSDSs) 
  • Documents containing detailed information on safety practices to be followed for all other classes of substance under usage: biological, radioactive, nanomaterials, etc. Information on these materials may be sourced and consolidated from all possible sources.
  • Relevant Laboratory Standards recommended by regulatory agencies and other apex bodies (for example: OSHA Laboratory Standard (US) and its Appendices available at the OSHA website under the regulation number “1910.1450”:


  • Consolidated information on safe handling and disposal information on all chemicals for ready reference (to be prepared from MSDSs and any other source, and made available in both hard and online formats)
  • Consolidated information on management of accidental spills / release of hazardous chemicals and other forms of abnormal situations that may potentially cause harm to personnel / environment (information may be obtained from MSDSs and other relevant sources)


For developing documents on the bestpractices in a customized manner at the laboratory level, the user of thismanual is also advised to refer to the comprehensive compendium of safety andwaste-disposal information related to all forms of laboratory hazards (includingchemicals / biohazardous materials / radioactive substances, etc) available at:

Information on Carcinogenic Compounds

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) isinternationally recognized for evaluation of compounds, complex mixtures with acarcinogenic potential. For the current state of the science of classificationand evaluation see Annexure 2. The IARCevaluations rank the compounds and complex mixtures into five groups. Selectexamples of workplace carcinogens are enlisted below:

·        Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans, which are based mainly on studies inhumans. This group comprised 28 definite occupational carcinogens, includingasbestos, crystalline silica, wood dust, arsenic and arsenic compounds,beryllium, cadmium and cadmium compounds, hexavalent chromium compounds, nickelcompounds, benzene, vinyl chloride monomer, 4-aminobiphenyl, benzidine,2-naphthylamine, ethylene oxide, 1,3-butadiene (recently reclassified to Group1, cf. below), and coal tars and pitches.

·        Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans, which are based on sufficientevidences from animal studies. This group comprised 27 probably occupationalcarcinogens, including benzo[a]pyrene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene,acrylamide, epichlorohydrin, benzidine-based dyes, diethyl sulphate, andformaldehyde.

·        Group 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans, which are based on a combinationof effects in humans, animals and other evidences. This group comprised morethan 100 occupational exposures, including antimony trioxide, cobalt and cobaltcompounds, lead and inorganic lead compounds, naphthalene, acrylonitrile, ethylacrylate, isoprene, styrene, toluene diisocyanate, acetaldehyde, acetamide,chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, dichloromethane, some aromatic amine dyes, someazo dyes (including trypan blue), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), catechol,1,4-dioxane, and hydrazine.

·        Group 3: Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans due tolimitations in the data set.

·        Group 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans, which are based on acombination of effects in epidemiologic and animal studies together with otherevidences.


For moredetails on classifications and the various categories and examples ofcarcinogenic compounds see article in Annexure 3.  The summary andoverall evaluations by IARC are available from the home web of the InternationalProgramme on Chemical Safety []. Another comprehensive list with documentations ofcarcinogenic compounds is available from the U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services through the home web of the National ToxicologyProgram[].The list is published biennially and distinguishes between compounds ‘‘known tobe human carcinogens”, which is based on epidemiological studies, and compounds‘‘reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens”, which is based on humanand/or animal studies as well as on other relevant data. The lists are usefulas a first choice of information about potential carcinogenic effects. 

Biohazards and Related Safety Measures

The World Health Organization (WHO)divides the Biohazardous Substancesclass into two categories: Category A: Infectious; and Category B:Samples (virus cultures, pathology specimens, used intravenous needles). Theprocedures for handling of all such materials, intermediates, products andwaste, and the attendant protective equipment in laboratories engaged inbiological research require special attention. The pertinent safety informationand hazard assessment procedures, standard laboratory practices must beidentified, maintained and disseminated in the form of a manual by theconcerned faculty-in-charge. As indicated in section XIV, a wide-rangingcompilation of biosafety and waste-disposal information is available at:


Select critical requirements withrespect to biosafety are summarized below:

·      Trainingof all personnel on standard procedures, techniques and safety practices to beadopted in microbial research

·      Identifyingthe level of hazard posed by each biological material handled in the laboratory(by use of standard classification schemes recommended by regulatory agencies)

·      Restrictingaccess to all experimental apparatuses in use / display of appropriatebio-hazard signage

·      Use ofappropriate safety equipment (bio-safety cabinets) and appropriately designedapparatus for preventing release of biological materials during processing

·      Use ofspecialized personal protection equipment during laboratory activities (faceprotection, gloves, respirators, coats, etc)

·      Use ofany special immunization procedures that may be required for personnel workingin the laboratory

·      Adherenceto strict sterilization / decontamination procedures for laboratory equipmentand exposed surfaces

·      Decontaminationof bio-wastes prior to disposal

·      Developmentof emergency procedures to be adopted in the event of accidental spillage ofbiological materials

·      Avoidanceof intake of food in the laboratory

Safety in Nanomaterials Research

Engineerednanomaterials are those that are intentionally created (incontrast with natural or incidentally formed) and possess dimensions <100nanometers. This definition excludes biomolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, andcarbohydrates). Like most other laboratory chemicals nanoparticles may enter the humanbody through inhalation, skin exposure and ingestion. The specific hazardsassociated with most nanomaterials are yet to be identified in a systematicmanner. Limited safety information available on such materials suggests thatnano-sized particles are likely to be relatively more toxic than larger sizedparticulate matter. Owing to their reduced size and hence higher specificsurface area, such materials have been found to be more reactive than highersized particulate matter. Also, for the same reason nanomaterials are expectedto be far more penetrable into the human body and hence can find their way tothe body fluids (blood) and to specific organs more readily. Thus, if thematerial is toxic on its own, a higher level of toxic response isanticipated.  Also, thenanoparticulate forms of some materials show unusually high reactivity,especially for fire, explosion, and in catalytic reactions.

In spite of the uncertaintieson the nanomaterial hazards it is believed that the same general technicalhazard control measures which are usually adopted for most chemicals may alsobe applied effectively for nanoscale materials. The OakRidge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)a U.S. Department of Energy institute which focuses on scientific initiativesto research health risks from occupational hazards, prescribes, amongst other, thefollowing work practices for nanomaterials:

·      Transfer engineered nanomaterials samplesbetween workstations (such as exhaust hoods, glove boxes, furnaces) in closed,labeled containers, e.g., marked “Zip-Lock” bags.

·      Takereasonable precautions to minimize the likelihood of skin contact withengineered nanoparticles or nanoparticle-containing materials likely to releasenanoparticles (nanostructures).

·      If engineerednanoparticle powders must be handled without the use of exhaust ventilation(i.e., laboratory exhaust hood, local exhaust) or enclosures (i.e., glove-box),evaluate hazards and implement alternative work practice controls to controlpotential contamination and exposure hazards.

·      Wear appropriate PPE on a precautionary basiswhenever the failure of a single control, including an engineered control,could entail a significant risk of exposure to researchers or supportpersonnel. Alternatively, ensure that engineered controls (e.g., laboratorychemical hoods) are equipped with performance monitors that will notify usersif equipment malfunctions.

·      Keeppotentially contaminated clothing and PPE in the laboratory or change out areato prevent engineered nanoparticles from being transported into common areas.

·      Considerany material that has come into contact with dispersible, engineerednanoparticles (that has not been decontaminated) as belonging to ananomaterial-bearing waste stream. This includes PPE, wipes, blotters and otherdisposable laboratory materials used during research activities. Do not putmaterial from nanomaterial-bearing waste streams into to the regular trash ordown the drain.

·      Evaluate surface contamination or decontaminate equipment used tomanufacture or handle nanoparticles before disposing of or reusing it. Treatwastes (cleaning solutions, rinse waters, rags, PPE) resulting fromdecontamination as nanomaterial-bearing waste.

For more relevant information andguidance on preferred HSE practices for nanoscale materials the user may referto the following document (from the US Department of Energy, Nanoscale ScienceResearch Centres) on Approaches toNanomaterials ES&H (NSRC, Revision 3a, May 2008) available at:

Human Physiological Responses to Toxic Substances

Thehuman body needs very small quantities of chemicals that are poisonous in largedoses. This applies, for example, to some heavy metals, such as copper,magnesium and manganese. The adverse effect is strongly related to the dose.The effects may be immediate or delayed, and they may be reversible orirreversible toxic effects [Ref. 1, 2, 5; and].  The worstpossible effect is fatality.

·    Local/systemic toxicity: Thereare two main ways in which chemicals may exert their effects. Local effectsoccur at the area of the body which has been in contact with the chemical. Examplesinclude external tissue injuries from acids or lung injuries from inhaledreactive gases. Systemic effects occur after the chemical has been absorbed anddistributed from the entry point to other parts of the body. Most substancesproduce systemic effects, but some substances may cause both types ofeffects. An example is tetraethyl lead, which is a gasoline additive andproduces skin effects at the contact site. It may also be absorbed andtransported into the body causing adverse effects on the central nervous systemand on other organs.

·    Target organs: Thedegree of the toxic effect is not the same in all organs. Usually there are oneor two organs which show the major toxic effect. These are referred as targetorgans of toxicity of the particular substance. The central nervous system isthe target organ of toxicity most frequently involved in systemic effects. Theblood circulation system, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin follow in frequency ofsystemic effects. Some substances attack muscle and bones. Both the male andfemale reproductive systems are susceptible to adverse and often debilitatingimpacts from many substances. 

Skin. The largestorgan in the human body (~1.5-2 m2 in area) provides a protectivecover to the body organs but can allow permeation of chemicals if the load isexcessive. Many substances can infiltrate through the skin and find its way tothe hematological system, for example phenol, which may even lead to fatalityin the event of heavy exposure. Most common forms of skin disorders that mayoccur due to chemical contact are: eczemas, irritation and local inflammation.This condition can be either a non-allergic or allergic reaction to exposure tochemical substances. Examples of common contact allergens are several colorantsand dyes, nickel, chromium, cobalt and their salts, organomercuric compounds,acrylate and methacrylate monomers, rubber additives and pesticides. Chemicalskin injury may also be influenced by extreme levels of humidity andheat. 

 Lung. Thelung is the major route through which toxic substances in the workplace enterthe body. It is also the first organ to be affected by dusts, metal fumes,solvent vapours and corrosive gases. Allergic reactions may be caused by substancessuch as cotton dust, toluene diisocyanate (TDI, used in the manufacture of polyurethaneplastics), and methylisocyanate (MIC, used in production of carbarylinsecticide). Allergic reactions may result from exposure to bacteria or fungi.When dust particles of size lower than 0.1μm are inhaled the lungs are unableto exhale them. They become embedded in the lung leading to a condition called pneumoconiosis.Pneumoconiosis is mainly a problem for human beings exposed to the dust ofsilica (quartz) and asbestos, and is the commonest non-malignant occupationallung disease throughout the world. Other substances, such as formaldehyde,sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and acid mists may cause irritation and reducethe breathing capacity [Refs. 2, 5]

 Nervous System. Severaltypes of substances act as neurotoxins. The nervous system is sensitive to thehazardous effects of organic solvents, such as carbon disulphide. Some heavy metalsalso affect the nervous system; examples include lead, mercury and manganese. Severalorganophosphate insecticides (malathion, parathion) and other chemicals such asacrylamide hinder chemical neurotransmitter function in the nervous system,leading to weakness, paralysis and sometimes death [Ref.2].

 Blood. Theblood circulation system may also be adversely affected by solvents. Forexample, benzene affects the bone marrow; the first sign is mutation in the lymphocytes.Pure as well as compounds of lead, carbonmonoxide, and cyanides, may overcome enzyme activities involved in theproduction of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Chronic lead poisoning, forexample, may result in anaemia, a condition in which the ability of the bloodto distribute oxygen through the body is impaired.

  Liver.Themain function of liver is to break down unwanted substances in the blood.Solvents such as carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, nitrosamines and vinyl chloride, as well asalcohol, are hazardous to the liver. Such substances are termed hepatotoxins.         

Kidneys. Kidneyshelp excrete waste substances that the blood transports from various organs ofthe body. This helps: (i) ensure that the body fluids contain an adequate blendof various necessary salts; (ii) maintain the blood pH constant. Solvents suchas carbon tetrachloride, other halogenatedhydrocarbons, may irritate and can severely damage kidney function. Turpentinein large quantities is also harmful to the kidneys: `painter's kidney' is aknown condition related to occupational exposure. Other well-known kidney-damaging substances (otherwise termed nephrotoxins) are lead and cadmium []

Reproductivesystem. Several classes of compounds are also known toproduce disorders of the reproductive system and impair birth functions.Examples include thalidomide, formamide, tetracycline, etc.

Allergicreactions. Anallergic reaction (or sensitization) may appear after repetitive contact with asubstance. Once the sensitization has been produced, even very low doses canprovoke a reaction. Allergies can range from minor skin irritation to very severeor even fatal reactions. The pattern of sensitization varies according to theorganism exposed to an allergen. In humans, the skin and the eyes are the mostcommon areas of allergic response.

 Interactive effects ofchemicals on human body. The effect manifested bycombination of chemicals (and mixtures) is known to be varied []. In some cases the effect maybe additive (1+1=2). Organophosphate pesticides (for example, dialiphos, naledand parathion) exhibit such additivity of effects.

In other cases the combinedeffect of chemicals may exceed that of the individual ones (e.g., 1+1=4).It hasbeen found that the risk of developing lung cancer after exposure to asbestosfibres is forty times greater for a smoker than for a non-smoker. In the domainof solvents, trichloroethylene and styrene manifest similar behaviour.

When two substances negate eachother’s effect (1+1=0), it may provide an indication as to an antidote (as sayfor a poison).

In still other instances, a relativelyrisk-free substance may aggravate the effect of another (e.g., 0+1=3). Isopropanoland carbon tetrachloride have this kind of mutual effect. Isopropanol, atconcentrations which are not harmful to the liver, increases the liver damagecaused by carbon tetrachloride. 

Chemical Hazard Control: Technical Measures

There are a variety of technicalmeasures that can be used to prevent chemical hazards at source and / or reducepersonnel exposure [Ref. 1 & 2; also]

·      Substitution: Aneffective control method for any hazardous chemical is substitution; ahazardous chemical is substituted with a less hazardous one. This is preferred especiallyif highly hazardous substances such as carcinogens are implicated, or thosewhich may seriously impair human physiological systems. However, one mustensure that the substitute substance allows the elimination of the hazard posedby the previous substance.

·      Engineering control (Closed system): If theoption for substitution is not available easily, the personnel must besafeguarded against any exposure. A usually effective measure is to enclose thehazardous process or chemical. For example one must use sealed pipes totransfer toxic or highly flammable solvents and other liquids (especially thevolatile ones) instead of pouring them in the open air. Exposures to vapoursand gases need also be controlled and minimized if hazards are implicated intheir use.

·      Local exhaust ventilation: It maynot always be possible to isolate experimental activities involving hazardousmaterials. In such a case solution must be sought through adequately designedlocal exhaust ventilation, which usually helps remove the contaminants at thesource. A local exhaust ventilation system consists of a fume hood, ducts orpipes, a system to collect and separate the pollutants from the clean air, andan efficient fan to create the necessary suction force.  Hazardous gases,fumes and dust collected from the vented air should, however, be treated beforedisposal. Inspection, proper maintenance, regular cleaning and changing offilters are essential to protect to protection against hazardous contaminants.

·      General ventilation: Whereit is difficult or impossible to prevent hazardous chemicals, fumes, dusts,mists or particles from entering the laboratory air at the source, generaldilution ventilation can be installed so that the maximum airborne pollutantconcentration does not exceed the TLV (see section VI) for the substance. Atits best it should consist of an inflow of clean air and an outflow of exhaustforced by fans at placed at the right places. It can also be used with otherpreventive measures.

·      Housekeeping: Whenworking with dangerous chemicals, proper housekeeping is essential. Storageareas / stacks / cupboards must be well organized and kept in order. Maintenanceof premises and equipment should also be planned. These tasks should bededicated to persons/laboratory work groups. Periodic testing and repairingfaulty equipment must also be ensured. The efficiency of housekeeping should bemonitored with a suitable periodicity; this should involve thefaculty-in-charge / students / staff associated with a laboratory.


Exposure Control through Personal Protection

Exposurecontrol involves a wide variety of defensive measures to be taken during theuse of hazardous substances in order to minimize worker exposure [Ref. 1 & 2; also].However, it may be emphasized that engineering measures (see section XIX)should always be the primary measure, to be reinforced by deployment of personalprotection equipment (PPE).  The choiceof the type of PPE should be commensurate with the type of likely exposure(inhalation, contact, etc) and designed to provide effective protection againstexposure. Examples are summarized below:

·      Respiratory protection:specify adequate masks and the filter type 

·      Eye protection:specify the type of protective equipment, such as safety glasses, safetygoggles, face shield 

·      Hand protection:specify the type and material of gloves to be worn when handling the substanceor preparation. An example of the importance of choosing the right material isthat polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) provides good protection against toluenediisocyanate but offers poor resistance to trichloroethylene. 

·      Skin protection: specifythe type and quality of equipment required, such as an apron, boots or fullprotective suit. Indicate also the specific hygiene measures, such as eating orsmoking prohibition during handling, or washing methods.

·      Additional protection /mitigation from emergency situations: specify safety showers, eyewash stations,fire extinguishers, etc.


Chemical Hazard Identification and Management

Theforegoing sections have introduced the various classes of hazardous chemicals,their hazard criteria, effects they exert on human health, and the technicalmeasures that one may adopt in order to contain and / or mitigate theassociated danger in working with them. Thus it may be appropriate to summarizethe entire process of hazard identification and management by means of layeredor step-by-step scheme. Such a decision tree is presented in fig. 1. Itis expected to provide a structured approach to selection and admittance of achemical for use in laboratory research.  

Laboratory Practices: General Recommendations

·       Establish and follow safe chemical storage procedures for yourlaboratory

·       While working outside normal hours ensure that information about yourpresence in the laboratory is available to another person

·       Avoid all skin contact with toxic and corrosive chemicals throughminimum usage and use of personal protective equipments

·       Ensure good housekeeping, adequate spacing between experimental setups

·       While handling flammables ensure that no ignition sources are availablein the vicinity; in case highly flammable substances are in use consider use ofsensors to detect leakages if reasonable amount of inventories are available

·       Ensure all chemical containers are labelled (along with a date ofpurchase) according to relevant industry guidelines

·       Use appropriate signage to indicate highly hazardous chemicals andwastes

·       Use signage to demarcate work areas subject to non-chemical hazards suchas noise, temperature, radioactivity, microwave exposure, etc.

·       Document any known hazardous properties of new chemicals, nanomaterials,toxins, etc

·       While using a chemical ensure that information on other chemicals whichare incompatible with the former

·       Segregate and avoid simultaneous use of all incompatible chemicals

·       Maintain adequate number and type of personal protection equipment andfirst-aid kit

·       Maintain adequate type of equipment and devices to manage accidentalspills and releases of hazardous chemicals

·       Investigate all ‘abnormal occurrences’ that lead to (or potentially mayhave led to) impact on a laboratory personnel / external environment

·       Document lessons from abnormal occurrences and publicize them to preventrecurrence     

·       Ensure that there is an emergency exit in the laboratory and always keepit clear

Takespecial precautions to secure all high pressure gas storage cylinders againstaccidental slippage and fall

Management of Chemical and Bio-wastes

Hazardouswastes of all forms generated during laboratory activities must be identifiedand managed in a manner to ensure acceptable personnel exposure andenvironmental disposal as specified by regulatory bodies []. Some recommendedpractices are as follows [Ref. 10; and]:

·       Laboratory activities should be consciously planned to help minimizegeneration of wastes, particularly those which are hazardous

·       All students / staff handling wastes need be fully informed of theassociated hazards

·       Safe practices for handling, storage, labelling and disposal ofhazardous materials must be identified and documented and displayed prominentlyin each laboratory

·       The maximum quantity of hazardous waste that may be stored at any timefor disposal must be regulated by the laboratory with due reference to anystandard that may be available

·       The maximum time of storage of hazardous wastes must be fixed andadhered to in order to ensure timely disposal 

·       While storing hazardous wastes special caution and effort must exercisedfor identifying container materials compatible with the waste

·       In the instances when no adequate treatment / disposal facilities areavailable at the laboratory level it is essential to label and store wastes ina safe manner and identify contractors to whom the materials may be transferredfor treatment and disposal


Fig. 1 Schema forChemical Hazard Identification and Management



·       Highly hazardous wastes such as radioactive materials must be handledand disposed off in accordance to guidelines from concerned regulatory bodies

·       Special disposal methods must be resorted to wastes generated inbio-laboratories, including broken glassware which may be contaminatedhazardous bio-materials

·       Wastes whose chemical nature is not known may need specialized disposalprocedures and in all  such  instances expert advise must be sought anddocumented for any future use

·       All laboratories must display a prominent signage containing a list ofunused or waste materials that may be permissible for disposal into sinks;these may include: very weak acids and base (5 < pH < 12), sugars,amino-acids, soaps / detergents, buffer solutions, metal-free solutions,disinfected bio-matter, etc.

·       Disposal of all other forms of unused / waste chemicals / wastewaterinto laboratory sinks should be strictly controlled and avoided

Electrical Safety

A typical laboratory may housea large number of appliances that pose electrical hazards. Examples include:power supplies, microwave devices, ovens, stirrers, heating mantles (in say,distillation apparatus), pumps, compressors, sonicators, etc. In addition, somelaboratories may need to house equipments that require high voltage / power foroperation. Also devices which embody capacitors are hazardous as they may allowstorage of high levels of electrical energy which may discharge accidentally.All electrical devices need to be maintained and operated following safepractices; in absence of either precautions such equipments may pose serioushazards to an user, which in the worst case may prove fatal.

                The major hazards associated with electricity are electrical shockand fire. In a flammable atmosphere electrical equipment discharges cause firesand/or explosions. On the human body, the severity and effects of an electricalshock depends critically the magnitude of current, the duration of exposure tothe shock. Since water is a good conductor, the effects are intensified if acontact with an electrically energized source is made with a wet skin.  Electrical shocks may have minor to majorconsequences: a shiver to severe burns, and in the extreme case a cardiacarrest. The table 5 below shows the range of response that the human body tocurrent.

 Table 5 Current Intensity and Human Response

Current (milli-amperes)



Perceptible magnitude


Experience of mild shock (not painful)

6 – 30

Feeling of pain

30 – 150

Severe muscular convulsion, Extreme pain, Respiratory seizure,

1000 - 5000

Ventricular fibrillation

> 10000

Cardiac failure, severe burns, probable fatality

Typical measures to controllaboratory electrical hazards are:

·      Ensure all electrical equipments areappropriately grounded; provided with suitable insulation, and guarded so as toavoid direct contact; conduct periodic checks to ensure the integrity of suchmeasures

·      Ensure adequate signage to indicatethe location of main power supply which must be deactivated in case of anyemergency

·      In case it is needed to handleequipments that are connected to electrical power source, avoid contact throughwet skin

·      Use personnel protection such asnon-conducting gloves and shoes when handling electrical equipments that areenergized

·      Be sure to disconnect the powersource before repairing / removing electrical equipment

·      Avoid using both hands while at workwith electrical equipments, as bridge formed by using both hands increases thechance of respiratory shock

·      In case of accidental receipt ofelectrical shock by a person, first switch off /disconnect the power sourcebefore touching the person or any part of the electrical system which relayedthe shock

·      In case of accidental spillage of achemical onto an electrical equipment disconnect the electrical supply sourceprior to any cleanup

·      In cold rooms condensation may increase thechance of electrical shock due to most conditions; hence it is desirable to minimizethe use of electrical equipment in such rooms

·      Modifications to existing electricalservice in a laboratory or building must be subject to expert consultation and conform to standards

·       Ensure that power loss doest not create hazardous situations in alaboratory

·      Personnel handling high voltage/current equipment must beadequately trained on the prospective hazards

For additional information see“Chemical, Fire and Electrical Safety Document” from WHO available at:


System Implementation and Audit

The present documentprovides a broad introduction to select critical HSE information and guidelinesto be followed within each laboratory. The Department encourages activeparticipation from the student and support laboratory staff to employ theguidelines in order to prepare further specific documents outlined in section14. The appointed HSE committee member along with the faculty convener willprovide due support and guidance for such efforts through provision of suitableformats for maintenance of all information online.

However,the HSE committee will also perform periodic audits of compliance of HSE normsand guidelines by each laboratory, in terms of the documentation and internaldissemination of all relevant HSE information, adoption of safe practices onlaboratory work, housekeeping and waste disposal on a continual basis.  

Theframework of the audit process will be made available to all users, but it isexpected that all concerned personnel will strive to enhance the HSE systembeyond primary compliance.  Whereverdeficiencies are detected through audit, the appointed HSE committee willrecommend measures to ensure conformity with the norms. At the same timewherever innovative HSE approaches are adopted, the committee may recommendspecial recognition of the effort in suitable terms. 


Thepresent document aims to be an introductory guide to the various safetypractices essential to laboratory activities. Its purpose is to offer anoverview of the subject so as to help create an appreciation of potential hazardswithin the laboratory environment and so enable their elimination or mitigation.The user is urged to actively refer to the various literature and websites enlistedhere as well as others. Since the materials used in each laboratory is likelyto be different from those used in another, it is the responsibility of theuser in each laboratory to establish and update the essential safety and wastedisposal information, and render them available in a form that may be accessedand utilized with ease and promptitude.  

The Department of ChemicalEngineering at IIT Bombay holds the view that awareness of hazards, andcompliance with the best safety and waste disposal practices is integralto the accomplishment of laboratory research. It is also an ethical imperative.The discipline of occupational health and safety is a rapidly expanding fieldand all those who work in a laboratory environment need to accept the task of pro-activelyseeking and documenting all relevant information and implementing practicalmeasures to establish and sustain a safe working milieu.    


1.   Bretherick, L., Hazards inthe Chemical Laboratory, 3rd edition, Royal Society of Chemistry,London, 1986.

2.  Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, 1979. Edited by JulianB. Olishifski, 2nd ed. Chicago: National Safety Council.

3.  Guidelines to Hazard Evaluation Procedures (2ndEdition), 1992. Centre for Chemical Process Safety, American Instituteof Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

4.  Sax, N.I. DangerousProperties of Industrial Materials, 5th edition, Van NostrandReinhold, NY, 1979.

5.   Harris, R.L. (Ed.), Patty’s Industrial Hygiene,2000. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

6.  Topping, M., 2001. Occupational exposure limitsfor chemicals. Occup. Environ. Med. 58, 138–144.

7.   Zielhuis, R.L., Notten, W.R.F., 1979.Permissible levels for occupational exposure: basic concepts. Int. Arch.Occup. Environ. Health, 42, 269–281.

8.  Bretherick, L., Handbook ofReactive Chemical Hazards, 2nd edition, Butterworths,London, 1979.

9.  Nielsen,G. D., and Øvrebø, S., 2008. Background, approaches and recent trendsfor setting health-based occupational exposure limits: A mini-review. Regul.Toxicol. Pharmacol. 51, 253–269.

10.   Pepper, Ian L. (Ed.), Environmental andPollution Science, 2nd ed, 2006. Burlington:Elsevier.




Appendix:Examples of Hazardous Chemicals from Various Classes


Hazardous Material Classification due to US Department of Transportation

DOT Hazard Class





Class 1

Explosive/Shock Sensitive

Thermodynamically unstable material, may explode when brought in contact with a source of ignition (or which are more sensitive to shock and friction than dinitrobenzene)

picric acid, 2,4-dinitro-phenol, organic azides

Explosion caused by shock or chemical reaction.

Follow manufacturer's recommendation. Discard before expiration date. Store minimum quantities.

Class 2: Gases





Flammable Gas

Gas with a flash point less than 140° F.

carbon monoxide, hydrogen, oxygen, acetylene

Ignites easily, burns rapidly.

Store away from ignition sources and oxidizers.  Secure with a double chain to prevent falling.  Store oxygen away from flammable gases.  Check connections regularly to avoid leaking. 

Non-Flammable Gas (including compressed gas) 

Non-flammable, purified gas in a pressurized tank.

nitrogen, carbon dioxide, neon

toxic atmosphere, oxygen displacement

Store upright, secure with a double chain to prevent falling. Check connections regularly to avoid leaking. 

Poisonous Gases:

Gases liable to cause death or serious injury to human health if inhaled

fluorine, chlorine, hydrogen cyanide

toxic atmosphere, oxygen displacement

Store upright, secure with a double chain to prevent falling. Check connections regularly to avoid leaking. 

Class 3

Flammable Liquid

Liquid with a flash point less 140° F.

diethyl ether, carbon disulfide, methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde

Ignites easily, burns rapidly.

Store in flammable storage cabinet, away from ignition sources and oxidizers.  Quantities should not exceed 10 gallons.

Class 4

Flammable Solid

Solid that burns readily.

sodium, calcium, potassium, calcium carbide, nitrocellulose, magnesium, aluminum alkyls, white phosphorus

Ignites easily, burns rapidly.

Store in flammable storage cabinet, away from ignition source and oxidizers.

Class 5.1


Agents that react with reducible material to initiate or promote combustion.

nitric acid, bromine, calcium hypochlorite, ammonium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate

Fire or explosion.

Store away from organics and flammables.  Do not store directly on wooden shelves or paper.  Store chlorine separately from acids.

Class 5.2

Organic Peroxide


Any organic compound that forms unstable peroxides when exposed to air.

diethyl ether, benzoyl peroxides, cumene hydroperoxide

Explosion resulting from formation of concentrated peroxide crystals.

Dispose before expiration date.  If there is no marked expiration date, label with receipt date and maintain for no more than 1 year or 6 months after opening.

Class 6.1

Poison /

Toxic /

Highly Toxic

Chemicals that cause damage to target organs (liver, lungs, reproductive system, etc.) if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Toxic chemicals have an LD50 of 50 - 500 mg/kg, single oral dose for rats. Highly toxic chemicals have an LD50 of < 50 mg/kg, single oral dose for rats

chloroform, chromic acid, phenol, acetonitrile, potassium cyanide, mercuric chloride, pesticides, methylene chloride 

Acute or toxic effects that may be local, systemic, or both.

Store in a secure, sealed container below shoulder level. Use only in designated areas.  Store away from incompatibles.

Class 6.1

Bio-hazardous substances

Material of biological origin that could be infectious / pathological etc

Bacterial /virus cultures, pathology specimens, used intravenous needles

Acute or toxic effects that may be local, systemic, or both

Store in a secure, sealed containers / cabinets

Class 7:


substances or a combination of substances which emit ionizing radiation

uranium, plutonium

Exposure may lead to genetic effects

Follow norms recommended by relevant regulatory bodies

Class 8: Corrosive

substances that can dissolve organic tissue or severely corrode certain metals




Organic Acids

Compound with pH of 1-7, containing carbon.

phenol, acetic acid

Tissue damage, violent reaction with strong bases.

Segregate from mineral acids, oxidizing acids and bases.

Inorganic Acids

Compound with pH of 1-7, not containing carbon.

hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, boric acid

Tissue damage, violent reaction with strong bases.

Segregate from organic acids, oxidizing acids and bases.


Compound with pH of 7-14.

sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide

Tissue damage, violent reactions with strong acids.

Segregate from mineral acids, organic acids, and oxidizing acids.

Class 9: Miscellaneous





Water Reactive

Reacts violently when exposed to water producing heat or toxic gases.

sodium metal, acid anhydrides, metal anhydrides

Explosion, fire, toxic atmosphere

Store away from water, including sprinkler heads, sinks and drains, per manufacturers’ instructions.


Ignites spontaneously in air.

Phosphorus, lithium


Store under inert atmosphere per manufacturers instructions.


Chemicals that cause cancer in humans or animals models.

formaldehyde, benzene


Store in a secure, sealed container below shoulder level.  Use in only designated areas with approved controls. Store away from incompatibles.


Liquefied or solidified gases at low temperatures.

liquid nitrogen, dry ice

Tissue damage (frost bite), oxygen displacement, tank rupture

Store in approved containers. Store in well ventilated areas. (Do not store dry ice in cold rooms.)  Design transfer lines such that liquids cannot be trapped in a non-ventilated part of the system.


Substances that can cause an allergic reaction of the skin or respiratory system.

glutaraldehyde, isocyanates

Allergic reaction

Store in secure container taking into account other hazards associated with the substance.

Controlled Substances

Substances specifically controlled by law



Store in a secure, locked location.  Maintain a current inventory.



Safety Review Report

Safety Review Report

PhD TA Topics

Consult the following links for TA Topics offered by the department, grouped by Research Area and by Faculty.

Faculty Note: To float a TA topic, login, and from the Menu choose Provide Information > PhD TA Topic.

PhD TA Topics by Research Areas

The department is involved in a variety of frontier and traditional areas in chemical engineering research, under the broad areas of: The following are the various topics offered for PhD under these areas for the TA category students. The topics categorised by faculty is available here.

PhD TA Topics by Faculty

PhD topics offered for the TA category students is listed here under various faculty. A list of project categorised by research areas is also available.
Jhumpa Adhikari
Rajdip Bandyopadhyaya
Jayesh Bellare
Sharad Bhartiya
Swati Bhattacharya
Mani Bhushan
Abhijit Chatterjee
Ratul Dasgupta
Partha Sarathi Goswami
Ravindra D Gudi
Venkat Gundabala
Sameer Jadhav
Sujit S Jogwar
Vinay A Juvekar
Devang V Khakhar
Guruswamy Kumaraswamy
Sanjay M Mahajani
Abhijit Majumder
Ateeque Malani
Anurag Mehra
Sarika Mehra
Arun S Moharir
Kannan M Moudgalya
Hemant Nanavati
Santosh Noronha
Sachin C Patwardhan
Jason R. Picardo
Sandip Roy
Supreet Saini
Jyoti Seth
Hariharan S Shankar
Yogendra Shastri
P Sunthar
Akkihebbal K Suresh
Rochish Madhukar Thaokar
Mahesh S Tirumkudulu
Mukta Tripathy
Chandra Venkataraman
K. V Venkatesh
Madhu Vinjamur
Ganesh A Viswanathan
Pramod P Wangikar


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Yearsort iconAuthorTitle
9998C. Ravikumar; S. Kumar; R. BandyopadhyayaAggregation of dextran coated magnetic nanoparticles in aqueous medium: Experiments and Monte Carlo simulation
9998Dhananjaneyulu V; Sagar PVN; Kumar G; Viswanathan GANoise propagation in two-step series MAPK cascade
9998D. Sateesh; R. N. Mandapati; S. M. Mahajani; A. Ganesh; P. Aghalayam; D. K. Mathur; R. K. SharmaLaboratory studies on combustion cavity growth in lignite coal blocks in the context of Underground Coal Gasification
9998Patidar, P.; Mahajani, S.M.Esterification of Fusel Oil Using Reactive Distillation- Part I: Reaction Kinetics
9998Nandola, N.N.; Bhartiya, S.Hybrid system identification using a structural approach and its model based control: An experimental validation
9998Saeikh Z. Hassan, Madhu VinjamurParametric effects on kinetics of esterification for biodiesel production: A Taguchi approach
9998J. S. Jayakumar; S. M. Mahajani; J. C. Mandal; K. N. Iyer; P. K. VijayanThermal Hydraulic Characteristics of Air-Water Two-phase Flows in Helical Pipes
9998Layek, Arunasish; Mishra, Gargi; Sharma, Archana; Spasova, Marina; Dhar, Subhabrata; Chowdhury, Arindam; Bandyopadhyaya, RajdipA Generalized Three-Stage Mechanism of ZnO Nanoparticle Formation in Homogeneous Liquid Medium
2019Ravi Sankannavar; K. C. Sandeep; Sachin Kamath; Akkihebbal K. Suresh; A. SarkarHigh oxygen evolution reaction activity on lithiated nickel oxides - Activity descriptors
2019Jason R. Picardo, L. Agasthya, R. Govindarajan and S. S. RayFlow structures govern particle collisions in turbulence
2019Ravi Sankannavar; Sanjeev ChaudhariAn imperative approach for fluorosis mitigation: Amending aqueous calcium to suppress hydroxyapatite dissolution in defluoridation
2019Jason R. Picardo, L. Agasthya, R. Govindarajan and S. S. RayFlow structures govern particle collisions in turbulence
2018Ravi Sankannavar; A. SarkarThe electrocatalysis of oxygen evolution reaction on La1−xCaxFeO3−δ perovskites in alkaline solution
2018Ravi Sankannavar; K. C. Sandeep; Sachin Kamath; Akkihebbal K. Suresh; A. SarkarImpact of Strontium-Substitution on Oxygen Evolution Reaction of Lanthanum Nickelates in Alkaline Solution
2017Sushil K. Surwase ; Devyani Varshney ; Nitinkumar V. Patel and Mani BhushanNonlinear State Estimation for Three Tank Experimental Setup: A Comparative Evaluation
2016Akshay Modi; Shiv Singh; Nishith VermaIn situ nitrogen-doping of nickel nanoparticle-dispersed carbon nanofiber-based electrodes: Its positive effects on the performance of a microbial fuel cell
2015Modi, Akshay; Bhaduri, Bhaskar; Verma, NishithFacile One-Step Synthesis of Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanofibers for the Removal of Potentially Toxic Metals from Water
2015Asfiya Q. Contractor; V.A.JuvekarEstimation of equilibrium capacitance of polyaniline films using step voltammetry
2015Diptendu Das; V. A. Juvekar; R. Bhattacharya Co-extraction of U(VI) and HNO3 using TBP and Its Higher Homologues TiAP and TEHP: Comparison of Equilibria , Kinetics and Rate of Extraction’
2015D. Das; V. A. Juvekar; R. Bhattacharya Co-extraction/stripping of mineral acids and iron (III) by Tri-n-Butyl Phosphate

Research and Development Projects

The following is a list of selected sponsored R&D projects taken up in the department. The trend of number of ongoing projects is shown elsewhere.
PeriodTitlePrincipal Investigators
Mar 2011 - Mar 2014Prediction of thermodynamic properties for industrially important polymerization systems using molecular simulation
Mar 2011 - May 2014Process Improvements and Technology Dissemination in Jaggery Making.
Jan 2011 - Jan 2014Transport Properties in Nanofluids
Oct 2010 - Nov 2013JC BOSE FELLOWSHIP
Aug 2010 - Aug 2013CSIR Junior Research Fellowship in r/o Ms. Amrita singh (Roll No. 08530020)
Aug 2010 - Aug 2013Grid-enabled aerosol modeling system for climate change studies.
Jul 2010 - Jun 2013DST Screening Committee Meeting for Fast Track Scheme for Young Scientist-Engineering Sciences on 6th July' 2010 at IIT Bombay
Jul 2010 - Jun 2013DST / Characterization of Chemotaxis in Escherichia coli to controlled gradients of ligands in the presence of oxygen
Jul 2010 - May 2013Multifunctional nanoparticle probes for in vivo cancer stem cell imaging and targeted treatment
Jul 2010 - Jul 2013Solar Bio-fuel and Carbon Sequestration with Cyanobacteria : Role of Genetic Networks.
Jul 2010 - May 2013Development of Biotransformation process for synthesis of Chirally pure compounds
Jul 2010 - May 2013Electric Field Induced Vesicle and Drop Deformation.
Jul 2010 - Jun 2013SERC School on Electrochemical Systems
Jun 2010 - Jul 2013Chemical Engg. Lab I
Jun 2010 - May 2013Discipline wise co-ordination
Jun 2010 - Jul 2013Electronics design using DSP, FPGA, CPLD and Micro controllers through simulation and direct access of the hardware
Apr 2010 - Apr 2013DBT-BINC Junior Research Fellowship of Mr. Danish Menon.
Apr 2010 - Apr 2013SERC Scheme for the Introduction to Immunology for Physical Scientist & Engineers is schedule to be held in May 2010.
Apr 2010 - May 2013Studies on Underground Coal Gasification for Indian Coals-II

Research Laboratories

The department is organised into small research groups and laboratories. The following are the major such subdivisions. Please consult the links to know more about the people in each lab and the facilities and chemicals available in each of them.