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on 5 November 2010
The clearly stated aim of the book is to target undergrads as well as professionals whose work calls for predicting the consequences of an accident by use of modern simple methods, accompanied by explanations with example calculations. Topics are exactly as the "look inside view provides" and as one would expect. Some might feel odd areas are missing, but at least you can see before you buy.

I have not completely read the book, though have read the vast majority. The book won't make an instant expert of anyone, that would be a contradiction. However, it does provide some of the clearest examples with fulsome calculations that I've seen. A clear strength of the book is the clear definition of units involved in calculations. Much work in the field is empirical and the resulting factors are therefore scaled according to the units used in the remainder of the calculations. Being of European origin the units are SI based, helping to reduce the opportunity for errors translating from US literature (e.g. Chemical Process Safety: Fundamentals with Applications circa 1990 ISBN 0-13-129701-5). The units for each variable are clearly indicated in the text and calculations. Another benefit for those wanting to manually follow, or encode, the examples is the opportunity to check the results.

A number of Excel spreadsheets are available for download that clearly associate with the calculation in the book. The spreadsheets are reasonably laid out though I would suggest some improvements. A good feature of the spreadsheets is collecting the "Inputs" together with consistent naming between book and spreadsheet. It would have been advantageous for the various Inputs to be labelled in plain language as to their meaning e.g. Cd Hole discharge coefficient, along with typical values. Of course some inputs are 'obvious' when the user is familiar with the science. The weaknesses come from not using named cells for input or intermediary calculations as this makes inspection of dependant calculations harder to follow. I have not tried to replace "trial & error" calculations with goal seeking, I recognise goal seeking is not in the plain vanilla excel installation.

Some may like them, others may hate them, but I enjoy the crazy thumbnail pictures at the bottom corner of each page - they help to quickly locate the information you're after. Likewise the flow diagrams in the margins to show the current step involved in the problem solving process. They help the reader see both the wood and the trees. I am not an enrolled student, simply life long learner. I am pleased that there are no "Problems / Questions" that pure academic authors seem to feel obliged to pose and not answer.

Overall the book doesn't bring anything new to the well stocked library in the field. It is a timely aggregation of the topmost methods and calculations available, presented in SI units, without resorting to expensive software in the field. I'm glad I bought the book, though a price tag of £30-£50 would be more reasonable - particularly for student budgets.

Price tag and slightly weak spreadsheets loses the extra star.
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