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Tel Aviv, 2010

BLEVE- Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion:


Simulation and Risk Analysis
G.A. Pinhasia, Y. Dahana,b, A. Dayanb and A. Ullmannb
a Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Ariel University Center of Samaria, Ariel (Israel)
b Department of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, Faculty of Engineering, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv (Israel)

Abstract
A model was developed for estimating the thermodynamic and the dynamic state of the boiling liquid during a boiling liquid
expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) event. The model predicts, simultaneously, the bubble growth processes in the liquid at the
superheat-limit state, the front velocity of the expanding two-phase mixture, and the shock wave pressure formed by the fluid
expansion through the air.
The model predictions of the shock wave strengths, in terms of TNT equivalence, were compared against those obtained by
simple energy models. The study reveals what are the important mechanisms that dominate two-phase blowdown and BLEVE
accidents. The research presents an overview of the mechanism, the causes, the consequences, and the preventive strategies
associated with BLEVEs. They are therefore important computational tools for environmental safety assessments.

The Motivation Conservation Equations


Risk assessments modeling of accidents involving Two-Phase Mixture Air
pressurized vessels containing hazardous materials Continuity equations

Relevant Industries: [ k k ] + [k k u ] = m& ik k k u 1 dA
[air ] + [air u ] = 1 dA
t x A dx t x A dx
Nuclear and Power Generation (LOCA)
Petroleum, Chemical (Pressurized Gases) Momentum equations
u u P dZ u u P
m + m u + = ( f wL + f wG ) m g air + air u + =0
What is a BLEVE? t x x dx t x x
(Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion)
Energy/ Entropy equations
Explosive Release of Pressure Liquefied Gas (PLG) caused
by a very rapid evaporation. hk h P P sair s
k k + k k u k + k ku = (q&ik + f wk u )
+ q& wk + u air = 0
Any liquefied vapor (flammable or nonflammable) t x t x t x
can cause a BLEVE
Results
Shock Wave Shock Formation

Mexico City, 1984

Comparison against simple Energy Models: TNT Equivalence


1.4 0.3

The Model 1.2


Plane
Cylindrical
Energy model- reversible
(Prugh, 1991)
Wflash/mfluid [MJ/kg]

The model predicts, simultaneously, the bubble growth 1 Spherical


0.2
mTNT/ mfluid

processes in the liquid at the superheat-limit state, the front 0.8

0.6 Energy model- irreversible


velocity of the expanding two-phase mixture, and the shock (Planas-Cuchi et al ., 2004) 0.1
0.4
wave pressure formed by the fluid expansion through the air.
0.2
BLEVE: Fluid State Diagram Numerical model- 1D
0 0
Pressure 0.8 0.85 0.9 0.95 1
Tr=T/Tc
(PL)0
Pshock

Conclusions
Patm
The shock formation is associated with high initial
Liquid Liquid-Vapor Mixture
Liquid-Vapor Mixture Compressed Air Air
temperatures.
Time
BLEVE formation at T0/TC~0.89-0.90
Rarefaction- Mixture-Air Shock-
Wave Contact Wave Superheat-limit state during the initial depressurization
higher vapor pressures
(PL)0 Patm The simple energy models calculations over-estimated the
Liquid Air
shock wave strength.
x