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OSE551 Reliability and Risk Analysis for Offshore Plants

Fire and Explosion - Basic Phenomena

Daejun CHANG (djchang@kaist.edu) Division of Ocean Systems Engineering

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Fire (Explosion) Triangle

Air (oxygen)

Fuel

Fire/Explosion Ignition source

Sparks, flames, static electricity, heat

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Fire (Explosion) Triangles

Air (oxygen)

Fuel

Air (oxygen)

Fuel

Fire/Explosion Ignition source Ignition source

Fire or explosion

Safe if one of the three is missing.


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Properties of Methane (CH4)


The MSDS for methane will give the information: Item Appearance Explosion limits LEL UEL Flash point Melting point Boiling point Auto-ignition temperature Density at 20 Water solubility at 20
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Unit %

Value colorless odorless gas 5 15 5 15 -221 -182 -164 537 0.717 (Note 1.2 g/l for air) slight (35 ml/l)

g/l

Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Liquid Fuel Classification


Flash Point The lowest temperature at which a flammable liquid gives off enough vapor to form an ignitable mixture with air Fire Point The lowest temperature at which it will continue to burn after ignition for at least 5 seconds. Flammable Liquids (NFPA) Liquids with a flash point < 100F (38 C) Combustible Liquids (NFPA) Liquids with a flash point 100F (38 C)

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Vapor Mixtures Definitions


Flammable / Explosive Limits Range of composition of material in air which will burn - UFL Upper Flammable Limit - LFL Lower Flammable Limit - UEL Upper Explosive Limit = UFL - LEL Lower Explosive Limit = LFL Measuring these limits for vapor-air mixtures Known concentrations are placed in a closed vessel apparatus and then ignition is attempted.

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Flammable Vapor Fraction


Consider a liquid jet from a pressure vessel The jet will be atomized into small mist particles. Then, the fine particles will vaporized due to high surface area The vapor fraction is proportional to the vapor pressure, which is a function increasing w.r.t. temperature.

Flammable liquid

jet flow

y vapor = Pvapor /Ptotal = Pvapor /(1 bar) Pvapor = f(T) : increasing with temperature

leak orifice

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Flammability Relationships

Liquid (Mist)
Conc. of flammable vapor

Vapor

Temperature

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Flash Point From Vapor Pressure


Stoichiometric composition for perfect combustion with no reactants (including O2) left Most materials start to burn at 50% stoichiometric For heptane: C7H16 + 11 O2 = 7 CO2 + 8 H2O Air = 11/ 0.21 = 52.38 moles air /mole of C7H16 at stoichiometric conditions At 50% stoichiometric, C7H16 vol. % @ 0.9% (Experimental is 1.1%) 1 vol. % = vapor pressure 1 kPa = liquid temperature -5 oC (Experimental flash point temperature = -3.9 oC)

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Flammable Limits Change With:


Fire and explosion are a kind of chain reaction. A fuel molecule forms a radical. It reacts with oxygen to generate more radicals. In this way the reaction propagate. The chain reaction is affected by Temperature: thermal energy level Pressure: distance between molecules Inert gas: barrier to propagation or radical absorber

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Effect of Temperature on Lower Limits of Flammability


LEL decreases with temperature. The gas becomes easier to burn due to increased thermal energy level.

L E L, %

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Effect of Pressure of Flammability


LEL decreases with pressure. The gas becomes easier to burn due to decreased molecular distance.

Natural Gas, volume%

UEL Natural gas in air at 28oC LEL

Initial Pressure, Atm.


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Flammability Relationships

Liquid (Mist)
Conc. of flammable vapor

Vapor
Unflammable region

Flammable region

Unflammable region Flashing point Temperature Autoignition temperature (AIT)

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Minimum Ignition Energy


Lowest amount of energy required for ignition Measured by the spark energy that causes ignition Dependent on: Temperature - % of combustible - Type of compound Far smaller than usual energy sources like - sparks from rotating machines - sparks caused by dropped objects - Electrostatic sparks caused by operators
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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Minimum Ignition Energy

Effects of Stoichiometry

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Autoignition Temperature
Temperature at which the vapor ignites spontaneously from the energy of the environment Function of: Concentration of the vapor Material in contact Size of the containment

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Flammability Relationships

Liquid (Mist)
Conc. of flammable vapor

Vapor
Unflammable region

Flammable region

Autoignition region

Unflammable region Flashing point Temperature Autoignition temperature (AIT)

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Autoignition Temperature

Material

Variation

Autoignition Temperature, oC 548 502 476 678 571 120 110 96

Pentane in air

1.50% 3.75% 7.65% Iron flask Quartz flask 200 ml flask 1000 ml flask 10000 ml flask

Benzene

Carbon disulfide

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Autoignition Temperature

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Adiabatic Compression
Fuel and air will ignite if the vapors are compressed to an adiabatic temperature that exceeds the autoignition temperature Adiabatic Compression Ignition (ACI) Diesel engines operate on this principle; pre-ignition knocking in gasoline engines E.g., flammable vapors sucked into compressors; aluminum portable oxygen system fires

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Ignition Sources of Major Fires


Source Electrical Smoking Friction Overheated Materials Hot Surfaces Burner Flames Cutting, Welding, Mech. Sparks Static Sparks All Other
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Percent of Accidents 23 18 10 8 7 7 6 1 20
Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

More Definitions
Fire A slow form of deflagration Deflagration Propagating reactions in which the energy transfer from the reaction zone to the unreacted zone is accomplished thru ordinary transport processes such as heat and mass transfer. Detonation / Explosion Propagating reactions in which energy is transferred from the reaction zone to the unreacted zone on a reactive shock wave. The velocity of the shock wave always exceeds sonic velocity in the reactant.

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Deflagration
Combustion with flame speeds at non-turbulent velocities of 0.5 1 m/sec. Pressures rise by heat balance in fixed volume with pressure ratio of about 10.

CH4 + 2 O2 Initial Mols Final Mols Initial Temp Final Temp Pressure Ratio Initial Pressure Final Pressure

= = = = = = = =

CO2 + 2 H2O + 21000 BTU/lb 1 + 2/.21 = 10.52 1 + 2 + 2(0.79/0.21) = 10.52 298oK 2500oK 9.7 1 bar (abs) 9.7 bar (abs)

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Detonation
Highly turbulent combustion Very high flame speeds Extremely high pressures >>10 bars

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Pressure vs. Time Characteristics

DETONATION

OVERPRESSURE

VAPOR CLOUD DEFLAGRATION

TIME

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Two Special Cases


Vapor Cloud Explosion Boiling Liquid /Expanding Vapor Explosion

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

UVCE

Unconfined Vapor Cloud Explosion


An overpressure caused when a gas cloud detonates or deflagrates in open air rather than simply burns.

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

What Happens to a Vapor Cloud?


Cloud will spread from too rich, through flammable range to too lean. Edges start to burn through deflagration (steady state combustion). Cloud will disperse through natural convection. Flame velocity will increase with containment and turbulence. If velocity is high enough, the cloud will detonate. If cloud is small enough with little confinement, it cannot explode.

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

What favors high overpressures?


Confinement Prevents escape, increases turbulence Cloud composition Unsaturated molecules all ethylene clouds explode; low ignition energies; high flame speeds Good weather Stable atmospheres, low wind speeds Large Vapor Clouds Higher probability of finding ignition source; more likely to generate overpressure Source Flashing liquids; high pressures; large, low or downward facing leaks

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Impact of VCEs on People

Peak Overpressure psi 1 2 5 10 15 20 30 35 50 65

Equivalent Wind Velocity mph 70 160 290 470 670 940

Effects Knock personnel down Rupture eardrums Damage lungs

Threshold fatalities 50% fatalities 99% fatalities


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Impact of VCEs on Facilities

Peak Overpressure psi


0.5-to-1 1-to-2

Typical Damage
Glass windows break Common siding types fail: - corrugated asbestos shatters - corrugated steel panel joints fail - wood siding blows in Unreinforced concrete, cinder block walls fail Self-framed steel panel buildings collapse Oil storage tanks rupture Utility poles snap Loaded rail cars overturn Unreinforced brick walls fail

2-to-3 3-to-4 5 7 7-8

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Vapor Clouds and TNT


World of explosives is dominated by TNT impact which is understood. Vapor clouds, by analysis of incidents, seem to respond like TNT if we can determine the equivalent TNT. 1 pound of TNT has a LHV of 1890 BTU/lb. 1 pound of hydrocarbon has a LHV of about 19000 BTU/lb. A vapor cloud with a 10% efficiency will respond like a similar weight of TNT. It is a matter of reaction speed, not the energy density.

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

BLEVE

Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion


The result of a vessel failure in a fire and release of a pressurized liquid rapidly into the fire A pressure wave, a fire ball, vessel fragments and burning liquid droplets are usually the result

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

BLEVE

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Ocean Systems Engineering Prof. Daejun CHANG

Liquid Fuel Classification

FUEL SOURCE

Check the Y-tube.


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