PUBLICATIONS AND VIDEOS
Explosions in, and propagating from real enclosures
Speaker(s): Jason Gill
Organisation(s): Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Duration: 49 min
For the Vapour Cloud Explosion that occurred at the Buncefield fuel storage site in 2005, the most likely source of ignition was a spark within an emergency pumphouse. This webinar presents experimental research that investigated the potential escalating effects of explosion propagation from electrical control boxes within buildings constructed with lightweight steel cladding panels - which are prolific on high explosion hazard sites - into a larger cloud. This research focused on explaining the flame propagation mechanisms responsible for intensifying Vapour Cloud Explosion (VCE) severity.
A series of controlled explosion experiments were conducted using a 47 m3 vessel comprising a vent. Initially, experiments utilising 4.2% propane-air mixtures were carried out to understand baseline venting mechanisms and pressure development, with the vessel vent covered with steel panels designed to mimic the structural properties of buildings like the Buncefield pumphouse and for comparison, plastic sheeting. Subsequent experiments employed commercially available electrical control boxes to investigate the explosion propagation dynamics and the resultant pressures and flame speeds. Experiments were conducted both with and without a flammable cloud external to the control box.
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