Experimental and Analytical Studies of the Formation of Fire and Explosive Vapor Clouds in the Atmosphere during Leaks and Spills of Liquid Hydrogen


Experimental and numerical studies of the process of formation of fire-explosive steam-air clouds in the atmosphere during leaks and spills of liquid hydrogen were carried out. Within their framework, the tasks were performed to determine the size and lifetime of a hydrogen-air cloud with a hazardous concentration of hydrogen from the point of view of explosion and fire hazard (including at the boundary of a visible cloud), and the relationship between the temperature and concentration of combustible gas in a gas-air cloud; studying the effect of cloud temperature on its parameters, the role of atmosphere involvement in the convective hydrogen jet; establishing the influence of moisture content in the atmospheric cloud and the mobility of the environment (wind exposure) on the dynamics of changes in the level of its fire and explosion hazard. It is shown that the humidity of the environment affects the concentration of hydrogen at the boundary of the visible cloud, and, consequently, its fire and explosion hazard.

The assessment of the influence of humidity on the parameters of the studied turbulent convective jet indicates that the rate of change in the mass concentration of hydrogen on the axis of the low-temperature jet from the height of ascent depends on the humidity of the medium. The higher the humidity, the sharper the decrease in the mass concentration of hydrogen along the height of the convective jet becomes. 

In accordance with the calculations, the time for dissipation of a cloud to a fireproof hydrogen concentration in the presence of moisture condensate is reduced by 30 %, and the dissipation time to an explosive concentration of hydrogen is reduced by about 20 %.

The coefficient of air involvement α in convective jets of hydrogen-air mixtures with positive buoyancy is 0.12 considering the real enthalpy and absolute humidity of the surrounding air of 15 g/m3 (90 % humidity at 20 °C). This coefficient can be used in the calculations of turbulent convective jets formed during stationary hydrogen evaporation. 

Wind at low speeds leads to an increase in the maximum transverse dimensions of the cloud, regardless of the concentration in the hydrogen jet, and at high speeds, to their decrease. For emergency hydrogen spills, the most dangerous case when a hydrogen-air cloud of large volumes is formed in the atmosphere, is the case with zero humidity and no wind (in a wide range of values of the initial mass flow of hydrogen: 0.1–100 kg/s).

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DOI: 10.24000/0409-2961-2022-9-7-13
Year: 2022
Issue num: September
Keywords : fire and explosion hazard combustible gas emergency spillage температура experimental studies hydrogen-air cloud humidity mobility participation factor
  • Bolodyan I.A.
    Bolodyan I.A.
    Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Prof., Chief Research Associate, FGBU VNIIPO EMERCOM of Russia, Balashikha, Russian Federation
  • Vogman L.P.
    Vogman L.P.
    Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Chief Research Associate, FGBU VNIIPO EMERCOM of Russia, Balashikha, Russian Federation