Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Press Release 006/2014

KIT Regrets Accident at the Institute of Organic Chemistry

Yesterday evening (January 15, 2014), an accident occurred during a laboratory course at the Institute of Organic Chemistry for students of the third semester. In total, 16 persons were injured by a deflagration. One student suffered a serious injury by broken glass, another person was injured moderately. 14 persons suffered light injuries due to vapors released during the reaction. According to measurements of the Fire Department, no hazardous gases escaped into the atmosphere. Four of the light casualties were allowed to leave the hospital this morning.

 

“We very much regret this accident and hope that the injured persons will not suffer any permanent damage and recover soon,” Professor Alexander Wanner, Vice President for Higher Education and Academic Affairs at KIT, says. “All necessary safety measures were taken for the laboratory course during which the accident occurred. The students were instructed and the laboratory is organized and equipped to meet all safety requirements. We do not yet know why the accident happened. We have to wait for the results of the investigation by the police.”

 

The accident happened when disposing of chemicals. On the way to the safety cabinet, where the waste containers are located, nitrosulfuric acid deflagrated. Nitrosulfuric acid consists of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Normally, this chemical compound is not reactive at all. The causes of the reaction are now being investigated.

 

On Wednesday evening, the rescue forces arrived immediately. The KIT thanks the rescue forces, the Fire Department, and the police for their quick operation.

 

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 24,400 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

lg/le, 16.01.2014
Monika Landgraf
Contact:

Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer

Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Margarete Lehné

Margarete Lehné
Deputy Head of Press Office

Phone: +49 721 608-41157

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Contact for this press release:

Monika Landgraf
Pressesprecherin
Phone: +49 721 608-21150
Fax: +49 721 608-41150
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The press release is available as a PDF file.