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Developments in vapour cloud explosion blast modeling

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Author: Mercx, W.P.M. · Berg, A.C. van den · Hayhurst, C.J. · Robertson, N.J. · Moran, K.C.
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.
Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Institution: Prins Maurits Laboratorium TNO
Source:Journal of Hazardous Materials, 1-3, 71, 301-319
Identifier: 235423
doi: DOI:10.1016/S0304-3894(99)00085-0
Keywords: Explosives · Blast prediction · Explosion simulation · Quantitative risk analysis · Source term prediction · Vapour cloud explosion · Fuel · Computational fluid dynamics · Mathematical method · Offshore platform · Computational fluid dynamics · Numerical method · Offshore structure · Cloud · Computer program · Energy · Gas · Hydrodynamics · Model · Prediction · Risk assessment · Simulation · Technique · Vapor · Air Pollution · Explosions · Humans · Safety management · Volatilization


TNT Equivalency methods are widely used for vapour cloud explosion blast modeling. Presently, however, other types of models are available which do not have the fundamental objections TNT Equivalency models have. TNO Multi-Energy method is increasingly accepted as a more reasonable alternative to be used as a simple and practical method. Computer codes based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) like AutoReaGas, developed by TNO and Century Dynamics, could be used also in case a more rigorous analysis is required. Application of the Multi-Energy method requires knowledge of two parameters describing the explosion: a charge size and a charge strength. During the last years, research has led to an improved determination of the charge strength (i.e., the class number or source overpressure) to be chosen to apply the blast charts. A correlation has been derived relating the charge strength to a set of parameters describing the boundary conditions of the flammable cloud and the fuel in the cloud. A simple approach may not be satisfactory in all situations. The overpressure distribution inside a vapour cloud explosion is generally not homogeneous and the presence of obstructions causes directional blast propagation in the near field. A CFD approach, in which the actual situation is modeled, supplies case-specific results. An overview of the key aspects relevant to the application of the Multi-Energy method and CFD modeling is provided. Then the application of the two methods is demonstrated for an example problem involving the calculation of the explosion blast load on a structure at some distance from the explosion in an offshore platform complex. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.