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Development of Safety Protocol, Features, and Fail-Safes for a Laboratory-Scale Manufacturing Process

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies: Classroom and Online Innovations

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Nikki Larson Western Washington University

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After receiving my bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley University, I started working for Boeing. While at Boeing I worked to receive my master's degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Materials and Manufacturing. After leaving Boeing I spent several years in equipment research and development at Starbucks Coffee Company.

From there I decided my heart lied in teaching and left Starbucks to teach Materials Science Technology at Edmonds Community College. I eventually moved to Western Washington University where I have been faculty in the Plastics and Composites Engineering Program (formerly Plastics Engineering Technology) for the past 10 years. My research interests are in composite manufacturing.

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Cecile Grubb Western Washington University

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The manufacturing of composite materials has many associated hazards – health, physical, fire/explosive, and environmental hazards, to name a few. With general laboratory safety training and common sense, some hazards are readily apparent and easily detected by the students working on a project. However, many of the dangers associated with volatile or toxic chemicals cannot be seen and consequently go unnoticed until an incident occurs.

This document details the work done by undergraduate students, faculty and staff at the university to develop appropriate safety features for a laboratory scale solvent-based prepreg manufacturing machine. This manufacturing process has a variety of associated hazards including physical hazards (moving parts on the machine), health hazards (use of toxic/sensitizing chemicals), fire/explosive hazards (volatilization of organic solvents during manufacturing process), and environmental hazards (use of ecologically harmful materials), making it an excellent case study for the development of safety protocol by an academic institution. The safety feature and protocol development process is explained in detail and may serve useful for other institutions undertaking similar projects.

Larson, N., & Grubb, C. (2016, June), Development of Safety Protocol, Features, and Fail-Safes for a Laboratory-Scale Manufacturing Process Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26829

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