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Title: The thermal response of a pressurised storage vessel and its contents to simulated jet fire impingement.
Author: Lacy, Clive B.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3603 6222
Awarding Body: South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 1997
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The storage of pressure liquefied gas in vessels is subject to various regulations and codes of practice. For example, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a commercially relevant product, is subject to Health and Safety Executive Guidelines regarding cylinder/tank arrangements and spacing. In the event of an incident involving fire, the internal pressure and shell temperature of an LPG vessel will rise, and the weakening of steel at elevated temperatures can result in the structural failure of the shell. This can be avoided by the fitting of pressure relief valves, which vent material at a pre-set pressure. However, an ignited release can create a high velocity jet flame which, because of significant radiative and convective components, can generate intense, localised heat loads on neighbouring vessels or pipe-work. However, existing codes of practice have no special provision for the possibility of jet fire incidents. Owing to a lack of detailed information on the thermal response of a LPG vessel exposed to jet flame impingement, a series of laboratory scale tests with simulated, localised jet fire impingement on the exterior shell of a pressure vessel was required. The thermal response and the effects of key parameters, Le. fill level, magnitude of heated zone (Le. size and intensity) and position of simulated impingement, could then be examined for the part-validation of a suitable computer model. In addition, these studies could be used to interpret the results from concurrent full scale jet fire impingement trials. An appropriate pressure vessel was constructed to standard design codes, which incorporated a vent line and dump tank. A suitable LPG substitute was selected. Results from the studies indicated that mixing, and therefore thermal stratification, was highly dependent on the size of the heated zone and its position in relation to the liquid/vapour interface. High Speed Micro-Cinematography was successfully employed to film individual bubble streams within the vessel and to measure individual bubble sizes and velocities for various experimental configurations. Studies were also made on the venting characteristics. Sudden pressure relief caused severe agitation of the liquid phase and the breakdown of thermal stratification. In addition, swelling and aerosol generation through homogenous boiling within the liquid phase was observed. Comparisons with the nodal computer model revealed that the use of only single vapour and liquid nodes was a poor approximation to the detail observed in the small scale studies, where the incident heat flux was relatively low and the simulated region of impingement was highly localised. However, the bulk liquid and vapour temperatures and the pressure response up to the time of venting was generally well predicted. As the degree of engulfment increased the model became a better approximation. Although the full scale trials employed an almost fully engulfing jet flame rather than point source impingement, comparisons have allowed understanding of the liquid and vapour thermal gradients, and the subsequent breakdown of these during venting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LPG; Fire safety; Pressure vessel safety