To BLEVE or not to BLEVE: Anatomy of a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion

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Abstract

The loss of containment (LOC) for Pressure Liquefied Gas (PLG) vessels under accidential fire engulfment is shown to be very complex. The LOC depends upon: (i) the extent and intesity of external heating, (ii) the pressure relief device (PRD) operation and flare (if contents flammable), (iii) the fluid and fill level, (iv) the construction of the vessel, and (v) the thermohydraulic history of the commodity prior to failure.

The Simple experiments described here shows that there exists a new type of more powerful failure than the BLEVE. This even we call a BLCBE, a Boiling Liquid Compressed Bubble Explosion. A hypothesis is advanced to explain this mode of failure which is supported by an initial series of small scale experiments involving Argon, water, R11, and R123.

A comprehensive test program to determine the details of the BLCBE and BLEVE failure modes is indicated along with work to determine methods of protection.

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