I and my assistant have spent the last month devising experiments that are meant to chart out the stability or robustness of a small set of compounds whose manufacture has been problematic. This has been a kind of a process development activity wherein we are trying to understand what the specific sensitivities of this molecule are and how they might impact process stability.

My job these days is reactive hazards analysis and process safety. We have been trying to dream up experiments that tease out particular weaknesses a compound may have in normal or plausible off-normal conditions. While the compounds in question do not have apparent issues with reactive hazards, the skill set needed to find reactive hazards is useful in finding economic hazards as well.

An economic hazard would be something that threatens the profitability of a process. A production instability is simply a low threshold for a transition to off-normal processing conditions. Sometimes a process instability is physically dangerous and sometimes it is only an economic threat.

I have to say that this has been very enlightening so far.