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An experimental study of water BLEVE

Frederic Heymes 1 Roland Eyssette 1 Pierre Lauret 1 Pol Hoorelbeke 2
1 EUREQUA - Etude des Risques et de la Qualité de l’air
LGEI - Laboratoire de Génie de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques Industriels et Naturels, LSR - Laboratoire des Sciences des Risques
Abstract : A boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion (BLEVE) is a physical explosion caused by a sudden rupture of a vessel containing superheated liquid. A BLEVE can occur with many types of fluids and is not an exclusive phenomenon for flammable liquefied gases such as propane or butane. Other superheated liquids suffering a fast depressurization at high temperature may entail a BLEVE, such as water in steam generation systems. Several pieces in literature suggest that superheated water may produce a BLEVE, but little experimental data can be found on that topic. The aim of this work was to perform water BLEVE tests with a 14 L pressure vessel designed on purpose to produce high superheated liquid water (290 °C; 75 bar) and to trigger a BLEVE through calibrated rupture disks. Pressure sensors were set in the vessel to measure the internal phase change pressure dynamics and other aerial overpressure sensors were put around the relief rupture disk to capture the blast wave. Temperature of water was also recorded, and a fast camera (Phantom V2512) was used to see the phenomenon. Data show clearly the pressure recovery due to rapid boiling in the vessel. Explosive boiling did not add additional internal pressure force on the containment. Two main blast waves were observed, they were strongly related with outlet orifice area but little dependant on filling ratio. The two phase jet reached a 20 m range.
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Frederic Heymes, Roland Eyssette, Pierre Lauret, Pol Hoorelbeke. An experimental study of water BLEVE. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, Elsevier, 2020, 141, pp.49-60. ⟨10.1016/j.psep.2020.04.029⟩. ⟨hal-02775607⟩

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