BLEVE blast by expansion-controlled evaporation

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Abstract

This report presents a new method to calculate the blast effects originating from an exploding vessel of liquefied gas. Adequate blast calculation requires full knowledge of the blast source characteristics, that is, the release and subsequent evaporation rate of the flashing liquid. Because the conditions that allow explosive evaporation are not entirely clear and the evaporation rate of a flashing liquid is unknown, safe assumptions have been adopted as the starting point in the modeling. The blast effects from a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) are numerically computed by imposing the vapor pressure of a flashing liquid as boundary condition for the gas dynamics of expansion. The numerical modeling is quantitatively explored just for liquefied propane. In addition, this paper demonstrates that often an estimate of BLEVE blast effects is possible with very simple acoustic volume source expressions.

The modeling shows that the rupture of a pressure vessel containing a liquefied gas in free space develops a blast of significant strength only if the vessel nearly instantaneously disintegrates. Even if a rupture and the consequent release and evaporation of a liquefied gas extend over just a short period of time, the blast effects are minor. © 2005 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2006

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